DIG IT AWARD FINALIST: MOBILE
A mobile, multimedia, real-time traffic center
- By Matt Leonard
- Oct 13, 2017
The California Department of Transportation is no newcomer to sharing traffic information with the public. It has being doing it for decades through the Caltrans Highway Information Network, and as technology has improved, Caltrans has kept pace.
The latest way for residents to get information on travel conditions is via a mobile application, the Caltrans QuickMap.
Paul Allen, a data processing manager in the Caltrans IT Department, said officials are always looking for ways to provide information in an easily consumable fashion, and a mobile app was the obvious next step.
Users can find out how quickly traffic is moving on state highways, check camera feeds for real-time conditions, see lane closures and the location of forest fires, and keep up with the requirements for tire chains on some roads during winter weather. They can also receive incident notifications from Waze.
The data comes from a variety of sources, including the California Highway Patrol, the state’s traffic-monitoring centers, Google and Waze.
Caltrans officials are already planning to add more features to the mobile application. They would like to connect it to Google’s application programming interface for route planning so that motorists can get directions within the app. And they plan to provide the location of snow plows, which will be outfitted with GPS transponders, so users can follow the progress of plowing and find out how close their street is to being cleared.
The app is even drawing international interest, with drivers in Canada and Mexico downloading it as they plan trips through the state.
Matt Leonard is a former reporter for GCN.