Monday, December 8, 2008

Commuterfeed vs. Twaffik

Earlier in the year, I was tweeting traffic conditions to a Twitter account called @commuter. Here's how it would work:

  • You'd begin your tweet as a reply to @commuter.

  • You would follow that with the three-character airport designation for the closest airport.

  • You would follow that with the traffic information you wanted to convey.
Here's an example:

@commuter sna carbon canyon closed, lambert is a mess. 5:56 PM Jun 30th from mobile web in reply to commuter

"sna" happens to refer to John Wayne Airport in Orange County. Now if you want to see all of the tweets that are associated with a particular airport, then you go to that airport's web page at - for example,

For more information on this service, check with Ron Whitman, or the reviews from SocialStalker and Mike Templeton. However, I haven't bothered to tweet anything to @commuter lately primarily because even if you're stuck in traffic, I'm not sure if it's still legal to do so in California.

Martin at 14sandwiches (who, incidentally, has good taste in music) has just blogged about another Twittery traffic service:

Twaffik is an automated system that works via a Twitter profile. You follow Twaffik and it will automatically follow you back. Then, whenever you’re out and about and spot trouble on the region’s roads or public transport network you can send Twaffik a Direct Message via Twitter. The service then tweets out your traffic news to all the service’s followers.

However, this service is currently only designed to support a single metro area (Manchester) and can't really scale to higher levels, since all traffic news goes to every user regardless of geographic area.

So it appears that @commuter/ is still the preferred service, unless there's some other service out there.

What I'd really like to see, however, is a voice-to-text-to-voice integration of a traffic service that allows us Californians to disseminate information using our hands-free devices. You call a number, state the freeway in question, perhaps state the nearest exit, then describe the traffic condition. This would then be converted to text and posted on a website - or, better yet, people could also call in to get the latest freeway reports direct from users.

For this to have any level of success, it would probably be best if Caltrans did it. Integrate user input into its existing highway conditions online reporting service, and you have yourself a winner. Plus, as I previously noted, Caltrans already supports incomding voice calls - all they need to do is incorporate user submissions.

Sphere: Related Content
blog comments powered by Disqus