These sequences are from New York and Connecticut’s state photolog archives, which I obtained through public records requests. Almost every state’s highway departments had highway photolog programs, some dating back as early as 1961. These sequences were captured by specially tricked out vans. The earliest used 16mm film, then 35mm, then video tape, laser disc and currently digital cameras.
A 1982 report from the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board with the extremely nerdy title “National Cooperative Highway Research Program Synthesis of Highway Practice” has an amazingly detailed breakdown of the nation’s photologging efforts, describing the history, technology, financial cost and practical applications for this public data collection effort.
I love these photos of the different photologging vans, and the crazy gear they packed inside.
I am still in pursuit of some of the older footage from various state agencies and will be playing around with various ways to explore this amazing treasure trove of American roadside history.
Thank you for reading!
I'd like to extend a big thank you to Robert Kasica from Connecticut's Department of Transportation for help with this records request. 🙏🏻
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- Jon Keegan (@jonkeegan)