You may have noticed that the feed was a little light today. This wasn’t intentional. The email account that @cltraffic uses to receive updates has been locked out for the last few hours (along with lots of other gmail users), knocking out a very timely and accurate source for traffic data. Hopefully service will be 100% restored soon so your commutes for the rest of the week won’t be affected.
Latest Traffic Reports
Service may be a little slower than normal this morning. I lowered the update interval to every 2 minutes (it used to be every minute) while I change a few things and make some tweaks. This shouldn’t affect people too much, but I will restore the every minute updates as soon as I’m done.
The current automated traffic reports are working well, but they suffer from 2 limitations that I see:
- They can’t be updated more than twice an hour, because this is the most that twitterfeed will allow, and
- They’re really impersonal, like some kind of robot wrote them.
So I’m opening cltraffic up to the people to work around these issues. Now you’ll be able to send traffic updates by sending a reply in the form of “@cltraffic report [stuff]” to Twitter. For example, if you see a disabled vehicle on Tryon Street, you can post “@cltraffic report breakdown N Tryon and 5th Street” and it will go out to everyone. Updates will go out every 5 minutes if there’s something new reported.
There are 3 things you should know about this:
- The tweet that cltraffic sends out will be tagged [unverified], because really anyone with a Twitter account can send updates and we can’t verify them all.
- The tweet will also have your Twitter username attached for accountability purposes.
- Remember that people get text messages every time someone posts to the cltraffic account. Try not to waste their money or spam them, we don’t all have unlimited texting.
I had fun writing this feature, but it’s not going to work unless people use it and use it well. My ideal would be to have such good information coming directly from local Charlotte people that I can shut off the automated reports. Help make it relevant!
Finally, thanks to the folks at Summize. I don’t think this would have gone so smoothly or quickly if it weren’t for their great API.