ODOT unleashes new Cyber-Tools to target Ice and Snow

KNO B4 U GO: safety websites expected to break 131 million record hits from last winter

COLUMBUS (Wednesday, November 24, 2010)No longer are snowplows and salt the Ohio Department of Transportation’s only tools to keep drivers safe during the winter season. This year, ODOT is unleashing several new cyber-tools to help motorists "KNO B4 U GO."

By adding Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to ODOT’s already successful traffic website www.BuckeyeTraffic.org, the department expects to break the record number of 131 million hits on its website last winter season.

"Safety is always our top priority," said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris, who noted that there were 33,110 crashes on Ohio’s roads related to ice and snow last winter, down last year from the two previous years. "Using these widely-popular social media tools allows motorists to be better informed and safer before they begin their travels."

Starting today, Facebook fans can learn more about ODOT’s ice and snow efforts by searching for ODOT Ice and Snow on www.Facebook.com. The site will be updated by ODOT’s safety experts with winter driving tips and statistics.

It will also offer Ohioans an opportunity to share winter weather conditions, photographs and feedback with ODOT’s Ice and Snow team.

Through Twitter, ODOT offers instant information on winter conditions along interstates and highways in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo. First used by ODOT last year, this successful effort has already generated nearly 9,500 followers.

Designed to give motorists updated information before they leave their home or office, ODOT will "tweet" when icy or snowy conditions may impact rush-hour travel on interstates and major highways or when a winter-related accident causes major traffic delays.

Each tweet begins with the reminder KNO B4 U GO. To follow ODOT’s tweets, visit www.BuckeyeTraffic.org/twitter.

Going multi-media with its efforts, ODOT is also launching the first "Ohio Transportation Channel" on YouTube. With a library of dozens of videos, www.youtube.com/OhioTransportation gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at ODOT’s ice and snow operations, highway maintenance efforts and progress on major construction projects.

These new cyber-tools build upon the success of ODOT’s premier traffic website www.BuckeyeTraffic.org, which had more than 131 million hits last winter, up from 32 million hit in the winter of 2008. That makes it one of the State of Ohio’s most used websites during the winter season.

With user-friendly, map-based features, drivers can access up-to-date traffic information, road conditions and closures across the state. Users can also view weather information - such as air temperatures, wind velocities, and pavement temperatures - from 172 different Roadway Weather Information System stations around the state.

ODOT strongly discourages motorists from attempting to access any of these cyber-tools while driving. The information provided on ODOT’s websites is intended to be accessed from home or work before you hit the road.

The easiest way to access all of this information is on ODOT main website at www.transportation.ohio.gov.

###

For more information contact: Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640

or your Local ODOT District Communications Office.