Tuesday April 25, 2006

What's up with the Sunguide ads?

sunguide sign over I-95

These Sunguide marquees (that’s Dynamic Message Signs to you) sprung up all over over South Florida about 10 years ago. They give road condition info, issue Amber Alerts, and now, apparently, advertise how great the Sunguide “Intelligent Transportation System” is. This is just so wrong. How? Let me count the ways.

  1. It’s a distraction. The big ones are bad enough, and the smaller ones flash back and forth between two parts of this message. Every second I spend looking at your sign is a second when I’m not looking at the road.
  2. Every silly, useless message they put up on these boards will make drivers pay less attention to them in the future (when there might be something important on them).
  3. Waste of money (sure the signs are already there, but how much does it cost to light and program them1).
  4. The Road Rangers are great (they gave me free gas one time when I ran out on the highway — not my proudest moment), but they’ve been around for years; nothing new.
  5. Except in a few rare instances, government agencies have no business spending our money to advertise how great they.

[1] You’d laugh, if you didn’t remember that some of these signs were up for years, blinking away with nothing at all, before the system was debugged.

Update: Unless you drive around SoFla yourself, this will probably make more sense if you’re aware of how prevelant this is: therese signs are now everywhere on and off the highways, and they’ve all had this same message on them for over a week.

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  1. Rick    Tue Apr 25, 12:20 PM #  

    I was going to post on Sunguide but you beat me to it, Alesh.

    One of these things hangs over the Turnpike, northbound, just south of Okeechobee Road. Whenever there is an Amber Alert, the traffic backs up to the 41st Street toll plaza (2 miles) because South Florida drivers feel the need to slow down to 35 mph to read, digest and contemplate the significance of the message.

    I’m not a big fan of Sunguide to start. Their 511 telephone traffic system is less than useless. Go ahead. Call 511 and see what I mean. It uses voice recognition that 50% of the time can’t decipher what you’re saying even when you’re able to finally figure out how to negotiate around the menu.

    It wasn’t always that way. At one time, Sunguide actually helped me find out what the traffic conditions were in South Florida. About a year ago they made the transition from recorded reports to this computer system. And since then it’s been a mess.

    A final rant here.Yesterday morning I was taking the Turnpike south from Broward County to Doral and I came to a grinding stop around I-75. I called Sunguide and after spending who knows how long finding my route, received the report that traffic was “heavier than usual from Okeechobee Road, south to 836.” There I sat, a full 5 miles north of Okeechobee Road. So I got to a real person and told them that traffic was backed up all the way to 75. The guy says, “We know that.” When I pointed out to him that the 511 report differed, he thanked me and hung up.

    The Sunguide Intelligent Transportation System? You have got to be kidding me.



  2. Manola BBB    Wed Apr 26, 01:23 PM #  

    I have to schlep to 163rd st and A1A area later today or tomorrow. Am debating on whether to take Collins (much nicer) or Biscayne.

    Does anyone know if there is a website that points to Miami’s latest roadwork?

    Last time I went up Biscayne it was a nightmare.



  3. Rick    Wed Apr 26, 10:05 PM #  

    Kinda late but try this, M.

    Miami traffic



  4. Manola BBB    Thu Apr 27, 12:24 PM #  

    Thanks Rick! I just bookmarked that site. Actually I went up Collins yesterday late afternoon. There wasn’t any traffic at all just up to the 163rd street exit, which is where I had to go anyway. It was a breeze and I always love driving over Haulover cut—the view is beautiful!