For travel advice, call your colleague
The other day, my bus into work sat idly in a queue of traffic, occasionally stopping and starting where usually it would usually whizz down the bus lane, laughing at the queuing cars interrupted only by the odd twatting cyclist. (The twatting cyclists are the ones that disobey all rules of the road. Unfortunately, a seemingly law-abiding one on that very morning ploughed straight into a van that was cutting up the traffic, through no fault of the cyclist. He was OK. But still.)
The bus was standing room only, which made the snail-like pace all the more annoying. I reached for my phone and searched Google News for the name of the troubled main road, hoping for some traffic update or the like. No articles came back. Not even one about the recent stabbing that had led to the road closure, nor anything about the big pile of blood and what appeared to be body-shrapnel (brain bits?) outside the road’s Post Office I saw the other month.
Maybe I should have searched Transport for London, but I didn’t think of that. My belief was that their systems wouldn’t be geared to getting such news out so quickly to their customers. And I also figured that while the Tube line is entirely under the remit of TfL, roads aren’t, so are less likely to receive the same level of focus as Tube issues.
So I called my colleague to inform him that my attendance at the 9am meeting was touch-and-go because of transport issues south of the river. Without my asking or him looking up the information, he immediately told me of a RTA (road traffic accident) on said road that was bringing south London to a standstill. He read the news somewhere at Victoria Station, apparently.
So my colleague knew, but the internet didn’t. Or at least the bit of the internet that I was looking at didn’t.
How do we get this information into the hands of the public quickly and in a digestible format? I should be able to click on a bus number and find out the latest. Maybe I can, and am looking in the wrong place. Or maybe it’s not there.
If it doesn’t already exist, we need a system that allows you to upload snippets of information based on your GPS location and to tag it as necessary with appropriate information—road names, bus numbers etc.
Does it exist? If not, why not? Does this belong in Twitter?