The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) launched a replacement to the state's traffic monitoring website on Jan. 18. The new site, OHGO.com, has a new user interface and features that can be accessed from desktops, tablets or smartphones. Replacing BuckeyeTraffic.org, the new site helps Ohio motorists get real-time traffic updates like current travel times, road construction locations, road sensor locations and winter weather conditions.

Through integration with the state's roadside technology, like speed sensors, cameras and doppler radar stations, users can view current road conditions and traffic speeds, identify accidents and slowdowns, and monitor live traffic cameras.

According to ODOT spokesperson Stephen Faulkner, the site may soon add a feature allowing residents to map their regular routes and receive updates via text message or email when their route is impacted by an accident or a slowdown.

With just one click or touch, users select a filter that will display the specific traffic information they want to see. Keeping the website simple and accessible was important, Project Manager Todd Wulfhorst explained, as the goal was to deliver a great customer experience. “Our old system, whereas it had a lot of the features, they were difficult to get to," Wulfhorst said. "Now those features are front and center. We've really tried to set it up so the most used and the most relevant features are at the fingertips of the user.”

Real-Time Traffic Data in Ohio

OHGO.com, which launched Jan. 18, 2013, has a new user interface and features that can be accessed from desktops, tablets or smartphones.

The website uses HTML5, Microsoft .NET and Oracle Database 11g, Wulfhorst said, and while the technologies that went into the project were important, usability was the first priority. From the interface to the name of the website, Wulfhorst used his past Web and software development experience to provide the best possible user experience.

The old site name, BuckeyeTraffic.org, was a long URL to input into a mobile device, and a difficult name to remember, officials explained. In addition, many Ohio drivers associated the term 'buckeye' with central Ohio, and thought perhaps the website wasn't designed with their needs in mind. OHGO.com was chosen for its short length, and its more positive connotations of forward movement, rather than traffic. The ".com" suffix  was selected over ".org", since it's most people's first guess when looking for a website.

Development is now under way to create a kiosk version of the site for bus terminals and airports. Creating a website that successfully engages the public required input from stakeholders throughout the organization, Wulfhorst added. “We had people from the communications area, we had people from our traffic engineering area, our IT area, and we really worked closely together, along with the design group we worked with, to really pull together all the ideas.”

Colin Wood  |  Staff Writer

Colin has been writing for Government Technology since 2010. He lives in Seattle with his wife and their dog. He can be reached at cwood@govtech.com