State agencies use social media for winter weather traffic reports

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - As technology develops, so does the way state and local agencies get traffic messages out to the public.

Jon Riemann, the Communication Manager for Wisconsin Department of Transportation, says using the 511 website and Twitter account is getting the newest information out to people faster.

“Twitter is a great place for that because it keeps it in front of people,” said Riemann. “We want to make people aware of what’s going on on the roadways.”

Wisconsin 511 gets the incident information from their cameras and from agencies responding on the ground.

“A great deal of communication happens on the backside to funnel that information, filter it, and then get it out to the public,” said Reimann.

Dane County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Novonty says an informed driver is typically a safer one.

“The more information you can give out to people, the better the driving public will be,” Novonty said.

There are many different ways law enforcement keep track of weather conditions.

“Road sensors, video cameras, and message boards are all invaluable to allowing people to plan ahead and pre-plan to give more time in getting from point A to point B,” said Novonty.

Dane County Emergency Management has used social media to spread the word about severe weather watches and warnings.

J Mclellan says there’s a strategy to ensure information gets in the right hands of people. He said it was especially helpful in the summer of 2018 during the severe flooding in the surrounding Madison areas.

Of course, drivers should not be checking social media for traffic updates while driving.

“Drive safely, drive slowly, and plan ahead,” Novonty said.