A cellphone/email alert system and an interactive map are among new traffic-project tools the city of Sandy Springs launched on Oct. 4.

The city is gearing up various traffic notification and information systems as development booms and major projects loom, including the new Braves stadium in Cobb County and the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstruction.

A detail of the new Sandy Springs interactive traffic map.

The “Sandy Springs Alerts” system allows anyone to receive traffic alerts, as well as emergency weather alerts, via text message or email. It also ties into “Smart911,” which allows registered users to add personal details, such as medical allergies, to a profile that can be accessed by first responders in case of emergency. The traffic alert part includes information about both planned road work and major accidents.

The interactive “TrafficWatch” map shows significant road construction projects around the city, including lane closures. Clicking on a highlighted project brings up a box of details about the project’s timeline and scope. In addition, users can view recent images from city traffic cameras, though that capability was not immediately functional on all cameras. The map is an improved version of one the city previously maintained.

The city also has added live online chat, in addition to the existing phone service, to its Call Center. The Call Center, which operates 24 hours a day, every day, fields any type of non-emergency question or complaint. The new online chat is handled by the same Call Center operators and is logged the same as phone calls. Sandy Springs may be the first city in the nation offering such a 24/7/365 live chat service, said city communications director Sharon Kraun.

The chat feature is accessible from anywhere on the city’s website at sandyspringsga.gov. The phone option remains available at 770-730-5600.

The new traffic tools were announced at the Oct. 4 City Council meeting, the same day most of them went live. They are still being tested and may require tweaks going forward, Kraun said.

In addition to the new digital information systems, the city is in the process of hiring a “construction ambassador” who will coordinate face-to-face contact with residents affected by road work.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

7 replies on “Alert system, interactive map part of Sandy Springs’ new traffic tools”

  1. First question not ask of the city. How is this different than the apps already being used and in place?

    Second Question not ask. How much did this cost the city?

    Third Question not ask. How is a call center and it’s employees in Florida at all knowledgeable about the roads of Sandy Springs? They don’t live here nor have ever driven the roads. Did this increase the amount of money to the out of state call center.

    Construction Ambassador? For residents to talk too? At what expense? How was there a need established for such a position? Is this to deflect from our part time mayor/council men and women who’d rather not be bothered with personal interaction among there constituents?

  2. The efforts unveiled have one focused goal – enhance customer service for the city’s residents.

    The new map shows construction activity directly from sources within the City, and we are able to show closures prior to work beginning, creating a more proactive way of sharing information. The map was created in-house using existing software, so no added expense to taxpayers.

    The Call Center averages 1,600 calls each week from residents with questions ranging from “what are the city’s office hours,” to reporting code enforcement issues, traffic signals on the blink, and everything in between. The Call Center uses a web-based knowledgbase of information, providing real-time updates, in addition to working with city staff to answer inquiries. The addition of online chat provides an additional way for residents to communicate with the city.

    With the increase in infrastructure projects – roads, sidewalks and state projects, there is an increased need to communicate with residents and businesses regarding the work taking place outside their doors. Our construction ambassador will be an experienced professional who will help not only inform, but work to help mitigate any issues which could occur during a project. Residents still have the same access to the Mayor and City Council.

  3. I would much rather have straightforward dictators than “leaders” who know what’s best for me.

    THe mayor and councilMEN are the latter. You can hear that in every word out of their mouths.

    (Including ‘and’ and ‘the’.)

  4. What your elected bosses are missing Ms. Kraun of the Boston firm you work for is that we did not vote for massive development, we voted for control and accountability.

    The fact that construction and overdevelopment is so out of control that a special map is required speaks to the problem those of us who voted for a City of Sandy Springs by the people of Sandy Springs have with what is going on. The Private Company manager is too overwhelmed to deal with City Springs and contract rebidding has now been given a new title. A title to ease the burden on our part time elected officials from having to attend a meeting. Seems those who ran for office forgot or had no idea the commitment of running a small city.

    Hope the construction ambassador is a no pay job and has more experience than the Commercial Lender who was put on the Planning Commission as announced here. I for one don’t see lending for commercial construction having much to do with planning and implementation of City infrastructure. Her position of the hospitality side of things speaks to her seeking out personal gain not a passion for serving others for the benefit of all.

    Lastly, jobs, especially answering the phone are more important here to our residence than some town in Florida. Hire local, where the people know the roads and our community because they are part of it.

  5. Here is an alert, I haven’t been able to turn left out of my subdivision for more than 2 years! Perhaps the new ambassador (how much tax money does that cost me?) can do something useful and hold traffic long enough for my neighbors and I to get out.

  6. Why a “Construction Ambassador” when we already have a “Community Relations Manager” who’s job is listed as including “Addressing and resolving issues of concern related to city projects and programs”?

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