Twitter Powered Real Time Traffic Updates

Posted: February 7, 2010 in Innovation, Internet, The_Entrepreneur_in_Me, Think_Business

Not sure of the traffic situation!? Not sure which route to take!? Log on to ‘Twitter’!!

All of us are aware of inconvenience caused by bad traffic situations. No one wants to end up burning fuel and getting mad in such situations. One day while traveling to office, I found myself stuck in a similar bad traffic!! Traffic jams are not unusual here in Mumbai, specifically during office hours. That day it was real bad as it took me 90 mins to cover a distance that I cover in 30 mins on a reasonable day.
That time I started thinking how could I have avoided such traffic and started wondering of ways in which such traffic situations can be made available to the commuters.
Available solutions and their inherent problems:
There is an official traffic police website where they ask you to register your mobile number so that they can update you about bad traffic situations. Irony is that I have not received a single SMS from them since I have registered around one year back and moreover no one has a clue what they actually mean by bad traffic. Only source available to us (commuters like me) is the traffic update broadcast on radios/FM. That is one thoughtful step, but again even that is subject to few limitations. There is absolutely no control of user/listener on the timing of information broadcast. Sometimes you don’t have that much time to wait and other times you don’t want to listen to those useless songs while waiting for the broadcast. And, just in case you are lucky to catch the timing, you need to be very attentive so that you don’t miss the specific update. So, is there any possible solution to this problem?
Problem re-defined: How do I get accurate traffic update whenever and wherever I want?
Solution thought of:
I can think of one solution to address all the problems captured above.
Answer lies in ‘Twitter’.
How about having a website which would broadcast real time traffic updates through ‘Twitter Tweets’!!
Potential Product: A website to broadcast real time traffic updates.
Now, another problem for such website could be to get the real time traffic updates?
I can think of two solutions to address this challenge.
Alternative 1: Collaborative model
1.    Users to contribute real time traffic updates:
a.    Through SMS; or
b.    Through their reply ‘Tweets’ or through ‘Twitter’.
2.    Users to update any upcoming event and the anticipated route diversion in advance.
Alternative 2: Crawling.
1.    Get traffic updates by scanning, crawling and searching various websites like Facebook, twitter, Orkut to capture any traffic related user status.
2.    Structure traffic updates area wise.
Broadcasting/Dissemination:
1.    Braodcast/Tweet as and when website receives any new update.
2.    User to follow the website Tweets to get the traffic update.
3.    Subscribe/follow area specific traffic tweets or general traffic tweets as per your need.
Potential Benefits:
Real time traffic updates on the go, whenever and wherever needed.
* Watch this space for more such thoughts and ideas.
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