Oh the joy of looking for current road conditions and road closures along the Colorado highways. During the winter season in CO you’d expect that when visiting the DOT site (http://www.dot.state.co.us) the first thing you would find would be a BIG, BOLD sign alerting visitors where they can get info.
My first choice was to click on a link labeled lane closures – this then takes me to another page with loads of links and many of the links bringing up PDF documents – hey DOT.. how about a freaking map??? A decent tabular report is posted at http://www.cotrip.org/ but in this day and age a map of real-time updates, maybe links to webcams and other timely info is what we want. Static maps showing links to webcams are provided but they are quite sad really, some of the maps having 300 icons which is totally freaking useless because you can’t tell exactly where the webcam is located as its so cluttered.
So there you have it.. the best local source seems to be at http://www.cotrip.org and according to a reporter on a Denver TVstation, the 511 call-in for info number is pretty much useless as well since the message contains irrelevant information and details that were not of interest nor up-to-the-minute. Imagine being stranded on the side of the Interstate due to a white out… this is what took place yesterday. Most motorists have in their posession a cell phone which is internet enabled. Ideally, timely, simple news feeds in a mobile web-friendly format is needed. Heck, it would even be simple enough to set up something like an I-70 Twitter or Jaiku where people could text in their own citizen reports and tips and I could access them in real-time, easily from my mobile. That would be a start but ideally, one interactive map (NOT PDFs…) with multiple layers of timely information and access to road closure reports, webcams etc.. all from one place is what is really needed and hard to believe doesn’t already exist! Requesting txt message alerts would also be a NO-BRAINER as well… imagine setting up a request for highway notices to be texted to your mobile for 3 days while your away skiing…
The image above shows how a map of web-cams appears… can you find the camera near the I-70 US 40 intersection??
Perhaps you have an example of an efficient road condition interactive mapper that CO DOT could use as a prototype… feel free to share details or even better, send the DOT your unsolicited proposal to help get hem going in the right direction.