I live in the Bible Belt, Texas to be specific. I live in College Station (home of Texas A&M University- great at engineering and some other sciences), but College Station isn't as large as some of the other cities here on DIYcity so I've had a tough time thinking of any traffic related issues. However, it is big enough to notice a giant leap in traffic on Sundays when church gets out- I think the development of twitter bots for various cities in the Bible Belt could definitely be useful. Basically you setup a way for churches to signal the bot that their service is over, thereby letting everyone following the bot know that traffic is about to spike.
What is the most amazing DIYcity idea you've got? The thing you've been thinking about building for years, or something just off the top of your head right now. Let's have it.
The first response to DIYcity Challenge #1 was TrafficTweet, a Twitter bot that allows people in NYC to tweet updates to each other about traffic conditions. See DIYcity post about it here: http://diycity.org/challenge-response/first-response-diycity-challenge-1...
Good idea - what are some ways this could be made more useful to people?
What would keep you from using it?
It somehow feels like a new world out there today, so it's fitting DIYcity has its first user-submitted app! Traffictweet, created by Andy Weissman, is a twitter bot that lets people broadcast current traffic conditions to others listening in. Subscribe to it, broadcast messages about traffic, and receive messages sent by others.
The app is pretty general of course. It would be useful to have different twitter feeds set up for different cities, for starters, and then you could segment it further several different ways to minimize noise to users. Still, this is a great first step for trying out and moving forward with. Kudos to Andy.
I just subscribed to the feed and am going to start playing around with it. If you're interested, you should do the same.
Or else take the idea one step further and build something better.
DIYcity Challenge #1: build a Twitter bot that helps users avoid traffic and get where they're going faster.
Details: There's an interesting app called the Shakeshack Twitter bot. Created and used by a group of people in Manhattan who love eating at Shake Shack, it's a bot that allows anyone to broadcast to others in the group info about how long the line is at Shake Shack at any time. And the line is usually really long, so it's pretty useful to have that info ahead of time. Knowing beforehand what the line is like can mean the difference between waiting a half an hour to get lunch and waiting five minutes.
How it works:
1. You request to follow twitter.com/shakeshack.
2. Whenever you go by shakeshack, you send a note to @shakeshack describing how long the line is. It's short, it's long, it's to the first tree, second tree, 10 min, 20 min, etc.
3. That tweet gets redistributed to everyone subscribed to @shakeshack, and those people can then make an informed decision: go grab a burger because the line is short, or skip it because the line is long.
The result: people get their burgers and shakes with only a fraction of the time spent waiting in line that they would normally spend. Time is saved, energy is saved, everyone is happy.
How could you extend this idea to work for other situations where people want to avoid traffic?
Directions for building a Twitter bot here: http://blog.stevepoland.com/how-to-create-a-twitter-bot/
Responses to DIYcity Challenge #1:
485sucks Traffic Bot 12/7/08
See discussion on this challenge here.