Imagine it’s 8 in the morning and you find yourself rushing to get out the door to make it to work on time. You’ve got your keys and a bagel in one hand, a thermos full of fresh coffee in the other. What is the next thing that goes through your mind before you head out the door: “What’s the traffic like?”
Social media sites like Twitter have become a popular place to get real-time traffic information. We’ve had great success connecting with the public across our 12 traffic Twitter accounts and every day more and more people are turning to our accounts to help #KnowBeforeYouGo.
Wait, 12 accounts? That sounds a little overwhelming. But remember, this is a big state and traffic patterns differ greatly from place to place. We felt by localizing accounts for particular parts of the state would help people find the information they’re looking for in as easy a way as possible.
Each account represents a different area of the state or state highway system and is run by our Public Information Officers (PIOs). Combined, we have more than 875,000 followers on Twitter, and our @WSDOT_Traffic and @WSDOT accounts are the two most-followed DOT accounts in the country. People who follow us recognize that they can turn to us for updated, accurate traffic info and can get their questions answered quickly.
Not a Twitter user? That’s OK! If you download our mobile app, we have a section that compiles all of our Tweets so you can follow along without actually being on Twitter.
So which of our Twitter accounts should you follow? It all depends on where you live and what information you’re looking for.
The flagship of our Twitter arsenal. This account provides important messages and helpful tips for commuters statewide. Unlike our other accounts, @wsdot usually stays away from tweeting about traffic-related incidents unless there is something happening on our highways that will have a major impact on commuters – for example, if a mountain pass were to close. Instead, this account helps point people in the right direction if they have a specific question another account may have more details about, as well as providing agency- and state-wide information.
The most popular DOT account in the country with more than 452,000 followers, it covers the traffic happenings of King and Snohomish counties.
|The @wsdot_traffic Twitter account is the most-followed DOT|
account in the country and provides info for King and
This account keeps an eye on the traffic in Skagit, Whatcom and Island counties.
Don’t let the name “Tacoma” in the handle fool you. This account covers our Olympic Region, which includes the South Sound, including Tacoma and Olympia as well as JBLM, all the way to the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas.
This account covers our Southwest Region – blanketing Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Skamania, Klickitat and Clark Counties, including the Vancouver area.
|People traveling to and from Oregon follow our @wsdot_sw|
account for traffic information from the Vancouver area.
Our East Region stretches from the Cascades all the way to the Washington-Idaho border, meaning @wsdot_east has a lot of roads to watch over. To make sure everything is covered effectively, the region is broken up into three sub-regions: North Central, South Central, and Eastern. But all tweet under this handle.
|Drivers on the east side of our state should follow @wsdot_east|
for information like the slow-moving landslide near Yakima.
With I-90 Snoqualmie Pass being our state’s most heavily trafficked east-west highway, this is the best way for travelers to stay up-to-date with road conditions, travel delays and possible closures on that route.
This account’s sole job is to inform commuters of the road conditions on all of our mountain passes – from Blewett to Stevens to White. Automated tweets go out every few hours or so to make sure you stay on top of how things are looking on those major highways.
Since it is an automated account, it won’t reply to any of your questions. Instead, send your inquiries to either @wsdot, @wsdot_east, or @SnoqualmiePass, depending on which pass you want to know about.
This is the account you’ll want to follow for updates on the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program.
The project is currently in its final phase of construction, called the West Approach Bridge North. Sometimes this project will require either directional or full closures of the floating bridge. Any time one of those is going on, you’ll see it on this account first.
Stay on top of what’s going on with our state’s tolling system on the I-405 Express Toll Lanes, the SR 520 Floating Bridge, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and the SR 167 Hot Lanes.
Whether you’re a frequent ferry commuter or the occasional waterway traveler, this account is for you. The ferry folks provide travel information as well as special ferry-related news and announcements.
Interested in seeing how the new SR 99 tunnel is coming along? This account provides updates and really cool videos on how the project is doing.
Now that you know about our different Twitter accounts, what are you waiting for? Go out and follow them!