A blog about Politics, Texas, and Academia

WiFi and Rest Areas in Texas

In Local News, Technology, Texas Politics on May 26, 2007 at 11:18 pm

Texas Rest Stop

One of the things we discussed in our E-Government class this spring was how Houston is attempting to go WiFi. I found this article today in the Houston Chronicle taking WiFi one step further.

May 25, 2007, 6:25PM
Web surf is up at road rest stops



Pull over, log on, rest up.

That’s the message from the Texas Department of Transportation, which reports active usage of its free wireless Internet locations at its 98 rest stops and travel information centers across the state.

“The whole reason we put them there was to try to find some way to attract drivers to take breaks,” said Andy Keith, the agency’s safety rest area program manager. “The idea is, if you take a break regularly, then when you get back you’re better suited for the task at hand.”

The system, which costs less than $100,000 a year, had attracted 8,142 users averaging 48 minutes each this month, heading into the Memorial Day travel weekend. Texas was the first state to implement such a program in 2005, although Keith says about a half-dozen have joined since then.

The hottest of the hot spots this month is in Donley County, in the southeastern Panhandle along U.S. 287.

“My guess is, it’s drawing people from the community,” Keith said. “But that’s all right. Having people around is usually good in rest areas.”

The default home page at the locations is http://www.textreks.com


I don’t plan on hanging out at any rest area any longer than I really need to. In and out. Additionally, I’m not so sure that sitting at a picnic table or in the car at a rest area while on your spendy laptop is a wise idea. I don’t even take my wallet with me when I stop at those places. Actually, I really try to avoid any stops unless it is at a very public, CLEAN, and safe facility. By the way, if you must make a pit stop on your way from Houston to Austin, I recommend Buckee’s Gas Station. They have a reputation for having some of the cleanest bathrooms around; although, I’m not sure if you can access the web while you are using their bathrooms. :o)

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