AASHTO Journal

TxDOT Logs More Than 5M Visits to Travel-Information Website After Harvey

With Texas residents facing more than 500 state roadway closures during the height of Hurricane Harvey's impact, the Texas Department of Transportation said its online map that provides pinpoint, up-to-date information about road disruptions drew more than 5 million times visits as drivers searched to check road conditions, find alternate routes and see closures on state roadways.

"We've always been proud of DriveTexas.org as a resource for guiding drivers across Texas, but we had never relied on it more than we did in the days following Hurricane Harvey," said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass.

capitol0816.jpg"During the storm, DriveTexas.org was visited by a record number of people trying to safely navigate to their destinations," he said on Sept. 13. "The real-time updates, which are made by TxDOT team members in the field, kept pace with fast-moving conditions and were invaluable to thousands of travelers and emergency responders who otherwise may not have known where to turn for accurate information."

TxDOT said the DriveTexas.org site "is an industry leader in providing some of the most accurate and up-to-date travel-related information" to drivers.

Besides providing the online mapping with icons that open to text information about the type of service disruption and its expected length, the site offers a toll-free phone number (800-452-9292) that provides the same information.

That travel information line, TxDOT said, received more than 163,000 calls between Aug. 24, when Harvey made landfall, and Sept. 13.

The agency said the information it provides on DriveTexas.org "is as close to real time as possible and is a vital tool for the public during emergency situations when information about road closures is being shared. Along with finding road closures, the site offers information about construction zones, flooding, damage and accidents."

Through it, the department's camera icons link to select local sites with traffic images, congestion data, incident reports and more detailed information.

The map's legend and icons allow travelers to look up the type of travel conditions along specific route, such as construction, road closures, ice/snow or flooding. Its icons for travel information centers and safety rest areas include facility locations, details on amenities, phone numbers and hours of operation.

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

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