Weblog of Nazly Ahmed

Nazly Ahmed

Nazly Ahmed

Web Developer. PHP Addict. Wordpress Hacker. FOSS Enthusiast. (Micro)Blogger. Photo Hobbyist. Cricket Fanatic. Husband. Dad.

Traffic. It’s one of the craziest things we come across more often than not in any given day. It can be due to peak hours, accidents, road blocks, rain, flood, fallen tree, cat crossing the road or what ever reason it may be, it will always be annoying as ever. Don’t we feel that we could have avoided the traffic if we knew the situation before hand. But its a problem that never gets solved. Coz you find random and awkward traffic every now and then.

The idea of using Twitter to share Traffic updates just spurred when @induNan posted this on Twitter:
“So.. Does anyone know? Is there a traffic update/alert #Twitter a/c or hashtag for Colombo or Srilanka??”.

I’m one of those daily victims of heavy traffic, so I was quite excited about it. “If there isn’t one, why don’t we determine one?”, chipped in @mack005. After a bit of tweeting among the rest of the tweeps, it has been decided that #TrafficSL hashtag will be used to update and track tweets related to the traffic situation around Sri Lanka, specially around Colombo.

I personally believe that this will benefit most of us despite where we are. We have a good Twitter community in Sri Lanka and TweetupSL was a clear indication of that. If we join hands and tweet whenever there is a traffic situation, everyone will benefit out of it.

If you are traveling on a bus, your tweets might not divert the bus, but will definitely help someone taking the same route. Same applies if you are even taking a walk. There will always be a time that you will divert your route coz someone tweeted about it. A word of caution though if you are driving. Using a Mobile Phone while driving is a serious offense. So you have to be extremely careful before you tweet. If its heavy traffic, make sure to tweet only while you are stopped in traffic. If you make your way out of the traffic and want to tweet about it make sure to stop on the side of the road and then tweet about it. It’s always your safety first, which also means the safety of others as well.

Traffic updates have been coming in already.. Most of the tweets are about spreading the word, but I saw few tweeting about the traffic status in their area. A search for #TrafficSL will give you all the updates. There will be a special segment about #TrafficSL in our next meetup of Refresh Colombo.

If you are new to Twitter or haven’t activated Twitter on your Mobile, you can read the post “Tweets via SMS: Now active for Sri Lanka” which I published some time back.

Tarffic updates on Radio

I listen to Yes FM Morning Show on my way to work, coz of the ‘Traffic Updates’ segment. Listeners send in their traffic updates via SMS to Yes FM. The RJs (Shaq and Shey) will read through them (obviously the ones that make more sense) during their show so that the listeners in that area can take alternate routes. It actually helps. But lately I have seen it fading away and there are hardly any updates flowing in.

My long story short

Colombo Traffic on Nazly's Photostream

I have a 15 KM drive home, and the traffic is worst as it can get. Without traffic I can get home in 20 mins. But if its during peak hours it takes about 1 hour and 15 mins average. There are about 3-4 main routes I could use. The best is always jammed and the less jammed are always long and bumpy. When I hit a traffic jam, I try to squeeze my way through by-roads to avoid traffic. It can pay off well but at the same time it can lead you to more trouble. It can always be better if I knew the situation before hand so that I can take the best possible route.

Recently a company here in Sri Lanka launched a GPS Satellite Navigation System at a very affordable cost. I was very much interested in it. It has most of the roads around Sri Lanka mapped and gives us directions while driving. The product is good. While it also suggested alternate routes, it didn’t have the feature I was looking for, traffic updates. Most of us know the roads and alternate routes. If we go to a totally new place, still we manage to roam around and ask a random bloke whether we are on the right track. So the solution we require is not static. It’s dynamic and requires real-time information.

Lets hope the Twitter community will contribute their tweets to a worthy cause which will save most of our time we spend on the road. Keep tweeting your traffic updates.. Don’t forget to add #TrafficSL

Posted on 8th November 2010 13:04:56