Social Media’s Impact on Traffic Reporting

Aunika Skogen | | BrainsBrains
I70 traffic jam
I70 Traffic Jam Last Sunday; image @I70things on Instagram

Record numbers of ski passes have sold this year, whether it’s an Epic Pass, Ikon, or even a season pass to your local mountain. As a result, many major highways that act as gateways to the high country have experienced major traffic delays.

For many weekend warriors, an enjoyable ski trip is usually buffered by major traffic jams. While the traffic can be unbearable and ridiculously long, the popularity of social media accounts has provided easy access for crucial updates. Easy accessibility has allowed drivers to plan accordingly and expect delays.

Many accounts will supplement updates with memes and photos making light of long hours spent on the road. Traffic can be crazy and can make people do some crazy things. Sometimes it’s easiest to laugh at it. 

I-170 Traffic
Photo submitted to the account during a major storm; image: @I70things on Instagram

One of the most popular accounts is I-70 Things on Instagram. The account has played a crucial role in bringing comedy to I-70 jams. Along with bringing awareness to road conditions and winter traffic laws. Named after the infamous Interstate 70 that runs east to west through Denver towards popular Summit County ski resorts like Breckenridge and Vail, it has over 160K followers. I-70 is known for having horrible traffic making it a popular highway to report about. With an influx of new pass holders headed up to ski this past year, it has only gotten worse. 

The account posts a variety of information. It draws viewers in with silly videos or photos of the ridiculous things drivers do when parked on the highway. It also provides real-time updates on road conditions. During some major storms, the account will announce what conditions are like based on followers’ submitting reports and videos. It has created an online community that constantly informs each other about traffic. Whether it’s construction, an avalanche blocking the road, or a massive pile-up it will be featured. 

I 70 things social media
image: @I70things Instagram

Since the reports are based on real-time conditions, drivers who follow along are more likely to be prepared for rough weather and delays. The account also provides insight into and encourages following winter traffic laws- like Colorado’s traction laws that are in place to keep roads safer. It has created an online community and has brought some comedy into what can be a stressful day spent in traffic. 

Not only is information being rapidly spread through Instagram, but Twitter accounts for local government transportation departments can be the fastest and easiest way to get updates on road conditions.

Instead of having to follow highway signs and hoping the information provided was up-to-date, you can easily view road closures, delays, and other updates on Twitter. Social media has allowed crucial information to be able to spread so much faster. And for something as important as being able to arrive safely at your house from the mountains it is extremely important. There are now so many resources that allow people to make informed decisions and drive as safely as possible. 

social media traffic update
Road Closure Report; image: @I70things on Instagram

Related Articles

Got an opinion? Let us know...