Crowdsourcing winter travel/transport conditions and school closure reporting

Too many sources report winter travel and school closures? Which is accurate?

No_avatar_small Submitted by Chris Spring
Shift Surrey Challenge - Turning ideas into action
How can we make Surrey an even better place to live?

Now we're just starting to have a Summer, here's an idea for the Winter!

Winter Travel Wouldn't it be useful to know if your road is going to be gritted. If it is when is it going to be done? What is a priority road? Is it mine? Is my grit bin going to be topped up?

Accurate up to date winter travel information via twitter. Relevant organsiations to take tweets more seriously on winter road conditions like ice and snow drifts. More often than not in my other life doing community radio, we are ahead of the bigger agencies in validating community generated reports.

Schools closures These are usually announced to relevant parties in a multitude of ways. Website, email, SMS. Probably more difficult to do this in an annonymous way such as Twitter, but from a media perspective there are too many sources to get this sort of information from, which don't always match.

Provide a single system that schools can log into to enter closure details This system to provide RSS feeds or email alerts,

Parents can register to receive these alerts for the school or schools relevent to them. Media outlets can register to receive alerts for the schools in their coverage area. Schools can embed the feed into their websites or link off to the central website. Central site could have GIS mapping to show closures/status.

Note: This idea is purely from myself as the author. I work on the Shft programme and am also involved in a voluntary capacity with a not-for-profit community radio.

  • Ben Unsworth
    04 Jun at 13:04

    I like the sound of this. There is a lot of 'twitter gritter' activity during the winter, but it sometimes feels a bit haphazard. This might help us make the most of social technology in a simple way that works for residents.

  • Chris Spring
    05 Jun at 11:11

    Thanks Ben, Always the issue of taking unstructured text from twitter and mapping it to a road position. Bit reliant on accuracy and availability of location based reporting (e.g GPS satellites available)