The first portable traffic monitors were introduced in 1936. Referred to as electronic eyes, these weatherproof road strips were laid across the pavement and connected to a battery-operated recorder. When your Hudson or Packard passed over the strip, the recorder would increment the car count by one. It also printed the results, along with the time, onto a roll of paper that lasted for about 24 days. The clock required winding every eight days. So cool.
If you Google the term traffic monitoring today, you’ll find that modern versions of these electronic eyes are more likely to be collecting and analyzing data network communications than counting up road traffic. And much of the motivation for such network monitoring is cyber security-related. This is because – and perhaps the following is becoming a bit cliché, but I’ll say it anyway – you cannot secure what you cannot see.
Any traffic monitoring process will work well, so long as the sensors are well-placed. For example, I’ll bet those weatherproof strips used in 1936 were situated on busy highways, rather than obscure side roads. Similarly, most modern data collection and analysis tools are installed at obvious network chokepoints, such as the enterprise perimeter DMZ. Such placement has served the security industry well for the past two decades.