When a state Dept. of Transportation markets an app, presumably to help travelers find where they're going, it causes me to cringe. That's because it only takes that single moment to glance at your smart phone with the purest of intentions and plow into someone in a nearby vehicle delivering unspeakable disaster.
Perhaps the Missouri DOT has faith that motorists in their state are somehow more prudent than most. Maybe that's why MoDOT has upgraded its free iPhone and Android Traveler Information app so motorists can get road condition information faster and easier; and hopefully, without adding to road fatalities along the way.
The upgrade addresses feedback from users on the original Traveler Information app MoDOT launched last year and adds features to make the tool more useful.
"We've made the app easier to navigate and added other features users requested," said Matt Hiebert, MoDOT customer relations production manager. "We've improved the pinch and zoom function and added the ability to create a personalized route list so users can quickly see the routes they travel most often."
"My Routes" lets users add the routes they travel most to a text report. That way, they can view these roads and highways with a single tap on the screen rather than having to navigate to a frequently traveled region.
The Traveler Information App will also work with iPads and Android-compatible tablets, another feature requested by users.
MoDOT reminds everyone who uses the app to check road conditions before they leave for their destinations.
"Our traveler map app lets you check road conditions and work zones anywhere you go - but don't use it while you're driving," said Hiebert. "Distracted driving is a leading contributor to traffic crashes, so check the map before you go. Put the phone down, and concentrate on the road." (I'm pretty sure their legal dept. made them say that.)
To download the new Traveler Information app, just visit the iPhone or Android app stores and type "MoDOT" in the search field.
Users of the earlier iPhone and Android versions will receive a prompt screen that links them to the app stores of their respective device. From there, they can download the new version.