This free service offered by King County, Washington is an innovative free service. The following release notes an award the service has received and provides some additional background.
July 22, 1999
King County's innovative e-mail service that alerts subscribers to emergency changes in their bus routes and closures of county roads has been recognized with a 1999 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo).
The award was presented last weekend during NACo's annual conference in St. Louis, Missouri.
"Traffic congestion and transportation are at the top of the list of citizen concerns. This recognition confirms my belief that King County Alert! is a model for the on-line, interactive delivery of travel information in a cost-effective and efficient way," says King County Executive Ron Sims. "We'll be doing more in the months ahead to use new technologies to get advance information on road conditions and bus schedules to county residents so they can make better and safer travel decisions."
King County Alert! is a free e-mail subscription service that enables bus riders and motorists to receive customized notices of road closures or bus re-routes due to snow, flooding, construction work or other planned and unplanned reasons. Subscribers fill out on-line forms that can be found on the Internet at http://www.metrokc.gov/kcdot/alert/
Roads Alert! subscribers can choose updates from up to six geographic areas of the county. Transit Alert! subscribers can choose the specific bus routes for which they want updates.
King County Alert! was developed and launched in less than six months by a team of twelve staff experts from the Department of Transportation's Transit and Roads Services divisions and the county's Web team. Since the program was launched last November, more than 50,000 individual messages have been delivered to more than 3,000 subscribers to the Transit alerts and about 1,000 subscribers to the Road alerts.
Subscribers have received personal notice of the closure of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge due to wind damage last winter and the resulting bus re-routes, followed by two back-to-back adverse weather events during Christmas week. More recently subscribers were alerted at their offices of the closure of Interstate-5 at the height of the Memorial Day weekend getaway due to the shooting tragedy in Shoreline. Here is a sampling of the user comments that have been received:
"Thank you so much! I was very leery when I signed up, but your communication is clear and timely. There were not too many e-mails and I got the information I needed at the place I needed to get it. I appreciate the service." - from a manager at the Boeing Renton plant.
"I live in Snoqualmie and drive both State Routes 202 and 203 to get to work in Redmond, so anything that affects those areas would be WONDERFUL to receive. Flooding and all that can happen."
Besides the general public, subscribers include the news media, emergency service providers, school bus services, employers with large work forces, those living/working/doing business in flood prone areas of the county - in short, anyone who relies on the county's transportation network. The Road Alerts! currently cover roads in unincorporated King County and the cities of Burien, Covington, Federal Way, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Maple Valley, Newcastle, SeaTac, Shoreline, and Woodinville, which all contract with the county for road maintenance services.
Information sent through the e-mail alerts is also posted on the county's Roads website at http://www.metrokc.gov/go/alerts/roads/webpost.cfm
and on the Transit website at http://transit.metrokc.gov.
When conditions warrant, users may also browse through maps identifying road closures and view digital photos of damaged roads on the county's Roads Geographic Information System (GIS) site at http://www6.metrokc.gov/mapcafe/index.htm.
For those without Internet access the county offers recorded road closure information at (206) 205-9150, and 24-hour transit information at (206) 553-3000.
The King County Road Services Division maintains 2,425 miles of roadways; Metro Transit provides service to more than 77 million riders a year on nearly 300 public transit bus routes and more than 500 vanpool routes. It takes very little snow or ice to create difficult road conditions affecting the motoring public and transit service. Heavy seasonal rainfalls and steep slopes combine to cause numerous floods, slides and washouts in both rural and urban areas. Typically, this region is hit by two or three major adverse weather events each year.
NACo is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States, with 1,800 member counties representing more than 75 percent of the nation's population.
Free subscriptions to King County Alert! may be obtained by going to: http://www.metrokc.gov/kcdot/alert/