Illinois Tollway Tips Off Tweets in Time for Turkey Day
Traveling the Illinois Tollway this Thanksgiving holiday?
Now you can sign up for Tollway Trip Tweets on Twitter.com. Tollway customers can “follow” each of the four tollways – the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80), Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) and the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355) – to receive real-time roadway incident information to help plan their trips.
“The Illinois Tollway is committed to providing valuable information to meet our customers’ needs, especially during one of the busiest travel holidays of the year,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur.
“Tollway Trip Tweets will help us connect with our customers in a new way and, hopefully, give them the information they need to be able to plan their trips based on what’s happening on the road.”
A recent survey indicated that nearly 38 percent of Tollway customers using one of the tollways use the Internet or a cell phone/smartphone as a source of traffic information before they begin their trip. Tollway Trip Tweets provide customers with information about roadway conditions as incidents occur and alert them to unexpected congestion on the Tollway.
Tweets will include real-time information about the type of incident, the location by nearest crossroad and milepost and the subsequent impact on traffic, such as lane closures. As many as three messages per incident will be sent via Twitter, with the final being the conclusion and clearing of the incident from the roadway.
“Based on these tweets, customers may decide to leave a little earlier or later than planned or take a different route altogether,” Lafleur said. “Our goal is to help our customers make informed decisions so that they can reach their destinations more quickly and easily.” Tweeters can choose to follow all four Tollway Trips or just the one or two roadways that interest them. To follow Tollway Trip Tweets, please visit the Tollway’s websitewww.illinoistollway.com and click on the Tollway Trip Tweets “Follow Us” button. Or, visitwww.twitter.com to set up an account. Then follow:
- Tollway Trip 90
- Tollway Trip 94/294
- Tollway Trip 88
- Tollway Trip 355
Tollway Trip Tweets are issued automatically from the agency’s Traffic Operations Center – Traffic and Incident Management System (TIMS), which is staffed daily from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Using more than 200 closed-circuit television cameras and 127 solar-powered remote traffic monitoring sensors, the TIMS Operations Center operates as a clearinghouse for roadway information, including gathering details about congestion, incidents, road work and lane closures. During hours when the Traffic Operations Center is not staffed, the Tollway’s Central Dispatch Center operates the TIMS System and will issue tweets, as appropriate.
Once information is gathered, TIMS operators use a variety of communications channels, including computer-aided dispatch, internet-based services, the 800-TOLL-FYI hotline, 48 portable changeable message signs and 37 over-the-road dynamic message signs. Real-time dispatch messages are currently emailed to Tollway employees, traffic operations and maintenance personnel, emergency and enforcement agencies and the news media. Now, through Twitter, they will be used to communicate directly to Tollway customers. The new Tollway Trip Tweets are an informational service to be used by customers only when they are not operating a vehicle. It is against the law to email, text or tweet while driving in Illinois.