Who says that governments can't be innovative? Innovation, collaboration, and instant information is the new government. For instance, Arlington County Economic Development came out with a way to talk to the government via Second Life (O Brave New Word That Has Such Avatars In It!, Michael Laris, January 4, 2009). Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) is offering Arlingtonians a chance to get on-the-ground, user-generated, real-time transportation updates for the Inauguration.
Here's the idea. We've created a Twitter at CarFreeJan20, which is going to be a BETA hub for real-time travel updates. As the Inauguration is going to be a traffic nightmare (see any number of related articles including Car-Free, Like It Or Not, January 7, 2009, CommuterPageBlog), this tool could provide relief. For example, you're headed out the door towards the Orange Line and you see via our CarFreeJan20 Twitter page on your laptop that that the Clarendon Metrorail Station is less crowded than Court House - with a picture to prove it. Or you're already on the street and you receive a Twitter text that the Clarendon Station is crowded. You can decide to switch stations or you can decide to take the 38S Metrobus traveling down Clarendon Boulevard all the way downtown instead of trying to get on the train. You want all the information you can get so you can make informed choices.
But we need your help!
Volunteers needed. We are looking for 50-100 people who are going to the Inauguration day festivities who are willing to tell us what they are encountering out there in the real world as they go to the swearing-in, parade and other events. These people will receive a FREE special Arlington Virginia edition of the book How To Live Well Without Owning A Car for helping us out. All these participants have to do is text their updates to their Twitter by texting to 40404. We'll take the updates, consolidate them, and relay them to Twitter followers.
Anybody can follow the action on the web page CarFreeJan20. And anyone who has Twitter account (a free service) can follow the action on their phone and receive real-time text updates on the status of Metrorail, buses, biking and walking routes and other relevant traffic data from the field.
We'll be posting more information here as we progress on this BETA project. So happy travels and be sure to join us on Twitter to help you get to and from the festivities.
- CommuterPage.com Go Car-Free to the Inauguration page
- Arlington Transit's Inauguration Day Service (also includes Metrobus service in Arlington)
- Sign up for ARTAlerts. Text messages and emails on real-time ART bus conditions.
- Daily transportation news via email.
- Other area transit service alerts.
- CarFreeJan20 on Twitter.com
- Twitter explained on Wikipedia.com