How did you check A.M. commute?
As you settle in at work after an interesting morning commute, tell me this: What did you know and how did you know it? Did you hear about the delay on the Blue Line? Did you hear about the accidents on the inner loop?
Because of the temperature and the timing, this morning's precipitation created constantly changing conditions on the main routes to work in the D.C. area. It's very unlikely you knew last night what you would be in for on your route this morning. So it was the ideal time to seek updates before leaving home.
Meanwhile, news organizations have been adding more ways to get those updates. You can find a string of examples just below this posting. Each morning, my colleague Mark Berman posts advisories about the latest traffic and transit conditions. On television, many of you can find local traffic camera views, as well as traffic updates from reporters and anchors. The radio stations -- most prominently WTOP, with its reports every 10 minutes -- offer frequent updates for the region.
Government transportation agencies have expanded their communications systems to include social media such as Twitter and Facebook. The Virginia Department of Transportation also has its 511 road information service. Metro provides e-mail alerts about trouble on the lines. I find these developments very encouraging, because I think a big part of the 21st century transportation system will involve managing information about the current state of the transportation network, so that travelers know what their options are.
But at this point, what do travelers actually do before leaving home? I often ask commuters this question. The most frequent answer: Just get in the car and go. Maybe they turn on the radio, maybe they look for an overhead message board. But in many cases, that's about it.
Given the vast amount of free information that's now out there to guide travelers through their commute, how do you choose your sources? Or if you choose not to use any of them and just wing it, how does that work for you?
| January 26, 2011; 9:25 AM ET
Categories: Transportation News, Weather | Tags: Dr. Gridlock
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