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Lots of available social media tools make it easy for state DOTs to tell their story.

UDOT is among many state DOTs using social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and blogs primarily to communicate with the public.  A report posted online by the TRB‘s Volpe Center shows how social media tools are being used effectively to share information with the public and also internal audiences.

The report is full of great information and worth a read for anyone interested in using web 2.0 to talk to the public or find ways to collaborate online. An overview of all states shows who’s using what. Selected case studies offer valuable lessons learned for other agencies.

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Debbie DeLaMare, IT Programmer/Analyst with the Utah Department of Technology Services, views Utah DOT's Twitter page.

Before social media, UDOT and other agencies relied on print or T.V. media outlets to report issues. Now, social media tools let agencies send messages straight to the public.

Here are some of the tools UDOT uses:

Utah DOT on Facebook posts about transportation news from blogs or traditional media, or events such as public meeting announcements.

Utah DOT on Twitterbrief text messages on traffic delay, dates or events. Some individual projects also use Twitter or other text messaging services.

Commuterlink.utah.gov — a mashup that integrates Google Maps with UDOT traffic cameras. Users can click on a camera icon and see real time traffic views.

ProjectWise — an application that allows project team members to store and share documents in-the-cloud.

Online meeting — UDOT Region One recently held an online and in-person official public meeting simultaneously.

Other blogs — some programs use blogs to stay in touch with members of a work group or to tell a specific story about UDOT. For example, the UDOT Energy Team Blog posts about how UDOT saves energy and resources.

The advantages of being a social butterfly

In addition to disseminating information quickly, social media tools work together to:

  • Facilitate quick information exchange. Blog viewers or Twitter followers can ask or answer questions from a PC or smartphone.  Tweets to Utah DOT abut traffic delay can be re-tweeted so other drivers can choose an alternate route.
  • Offer the same messages in a different format. Sometimes, short Tweets are not as sweet — Tweets to Utah DOT about road conditions recently prompted UDOT Blog posts with long format answers about pavement markings and potholes.

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