Lost on the freeways again

Lost on the freeway again
Lookin’ for means to an end
Nobody know which way its gonna bend
Lost on the freeway again

You have got to wonder what they’re smoking in the traffic department at KUT.

I rarely drive during the peak of afternoon rush hour. Between having to stay late at the office and/or wanting to hit the gym down south after work, I’m rarely heading north on the highway until 6:30 or 7:00.

But on those days when I do leave on time, I can always count on one thing: the traffic reports on KUT will bear little relationship to pesky details like, say, the actual traffic conditions on the road.

Take yesterday, for instance. While I was sitting in a much-worse-than-usual clusterfuck of brakelights on Mopac, I heard the announcer say twice that “Northbound Mopac is slow from Lake Austin Boulevard to Anderson Lane.” And I’m at a dead stop, barely north of 360, thinking, great! In about an hour I might make it as far as Lake Austin Boulevard, where traffic is merely slow, which should be a drastic improvement from where I am now where it is barely fucking moving at all.

Sometimes it seems like the KUT reports are all just pre-printed copy. “It’s 5:30, time to read ‘Standard Generic Traffic Report #6’: I-35 Northbound heavy from Town Lake to 51st, southbound heavy from Cesar Chavez to Oltorf…”

OK, I realize that they’re not the type of operation that can afford an Eye in the Sky traffic helicopter, especially when their $5.5 million annual budget needs to pay so many hefty salaries. But if the traffic reports are routinely so inaccurate and out-of-date that they’re useless, why even bother?

2 Comments so far

  1. M1EK (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 4:58 pm

    I had the same exact problem with the KLBJ family of stations, which DO have a chopper. I think it’s ludicrous to claim to have sufficiently up-to-date traffic information when you’ve got ONE guy covering the whole area, much less the zero that KUT appears to have.

  2. spook (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2006 @ 5:11 am

    Believe it or not, most of the radio stations rely on information called in by listeners sitting in traffic. There’s also an unreliable TxDOT feed, but that’s pretty much useless for real time traffic info.

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