By Richard Fong, Technology Project Manager
Moderate impact. Low impact. Collision. Cleared.
If you travel on highways anywhere, wouldn’t it be nice to have these types of messages delivered to your email or phone so you could anticipate a change in your route and save time?
With some cool technology, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has started doing just that.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit and speak with Tom Stidham, a developer with WSDOT. He stated that, before using a proactive digital communication system, they would post traffic information on their website and then push out alerts via Twitter. While these two channels did their job, WSDOT was looking to increase their proactive communications by providing email and SMS alerts to people traveling throughout the state of Washington.
By using GovDelivery’s Send Bulletin application programming interface (API), Tom was able to quickly and effectively integrate these alerts with their current work flow process to send automated messages to the public. These messages include traffic incidents, road conditions, and construction alerts.
The public can now sign up to more than 50 email and SMS alerts for different regions within the state, including areas such as the Oregon border and the Cascades, the Olympic Peninsula, and metropolitan areas such as Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma.
What does that mean for the people who live and visit Washington? They can find out what’s happening on roads throughout the state without having to constantly check Twitter or the department’s website. They get the information they need, controlling what updates they receive by subscribing only to the updates they want. And, maybe most importantly, if there’s a critical road closure (think the Skagit Bridge collapse), the SMS or email message that alerts residents and visitors to a potentially life-threatening road event can help save lives and protect property.
For more information on how you can leverage API technology to help your organization, watch my webinar, “Using APIs for success in Government.”