Public involvement in highway construction projects and transportation system operations continues to grow. Traditional tools to communicate no longer always meet the needs for convenient, fast, two way conversation. Direct mail flyers, newspaper ads and public meetings have given way to web pages, e mail, FaceBook,FlickR and Twitter.
In 2013 the North Central Region added a pair of electronic kiosks to our communications tool box. The kiosks screens are restricted to the WSDOT web pages (and there are thousands!) and the default page that greets a user is customized for each placement.
Initial testing involved a very high traffic impact project replacing the Green bridge in Tumwater Canyon which required closure of US 2 and a long detour.
The measured use of the kiosks and the feedback we received persuaded us to continue the test and when the bridge project was complete, the kiosks were reprogrammed in Spanish and English and placed in Mattawa for a roundabout construction project there.
They have been used for construction projects in the summers and for the third winter, they were placed at the Leavenworth Visitor and Convention Bureau and the Granite Peaks Lodge at the Stevens Pass Ski Area in early December.
The devices themselves have proven to be sturdy, safe and easy to use. Their capability to connect with WiFi, Broadband or be directly hard wired has simplified placement opportunities.