Whether it's communicating with travelers during a freeway closure, or pointing out that a chair obstructing travel lanes looks like it belonged to Archie Bunker, the Arizona Department of Transportation's Twitter account is there for motorists night and day, 365 days a year.
Since @ArizonaDOT twitter.com/ArizonaDOT launched in 2008, more and more Arizonans have turned there to get answers and to share information, making it the most-followed state government Twitter handle in Arizona.
As of this week, the number of followers has surpassed 200,000.
"Twitter is one of the most visible ways ADOT makes transportation personal for Arizonans, giving everyone the chance to tweet a quick question and get a quick answer, often delivered with a dash of humor," said Kevin Biesty, the agency's deputy director for policy. "Topping 200,000 followers is confirmation that we're engaging people at an individual level, and it inspires us to do even more."
Five years ago, ADOT stationed public information officers at its Traffic Operations Center to use Twitter and other communication channels to share traffic conditions, answer questions and get feedback from motorists. The follower count for @ArizonaDOT has grown exponentially since then, as Arizonans and others turn there for real-time updates, detour information, answers to Motor Vehicle Division questions, safety tips, tweets showing edgy freeway signs and even an occasional photo of a dog being rescued from a freeway.
To date, those public information officers have sent more than 142,000 tweets.
Complementing the many Twitter updates with critical information such as this, the most-viewed tweet from @ArizonaDOT in February 2017: Both lanes of I-17 southbound have reopened south of Munds Park at milepost 317..... … is the occasional nod to the humorous or absurd, such as this top tweet, accented with photos of the chair and TV character, from September 2016: L-101 SB near Indian School: Archie Bunker's chair is partially obstructing the two right lanes.
@ArizonaDOT is just one of the ways ADOT makes transportation personal through social media. The agency's Facebook page facebook.com/AZDOT has more than 50,000 followers, its YouTube channel youtube.com/ArizonaDOT recently recorded its one millionth video view and its Flickr page flickr.com/ArizonaDOT offers more than 7,000 photos. The ADOT Blog azdot.gov/blog, which offers an inside look at ADOT initiatives and projects several times a week, was recently named best in the nation by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
ADOT continues looking for the latest ways to engage motorists, and even more is on the horizon.