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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

Bridge Closed - Find Alternate Route


a warning for a bridge closure in Rhode Island.

We routinely see messages for roads that are closed using WEA. This is primarily within the states of Texas and Georgia and they are generally incomplete, lacking information about the sender and the time of the event while using a LOT of abbreviations. In other words, they are not 5-Star warnings based upon the Warning Response Model.


In this image, we find a good enough message. It is complete - containing all 5 contents that are necessary for motivating protective action: Source (RIDOT); hazard (Bridge Closure); location (I-195 West); time (5pm); hazard impacts (road closures and traffic delays); Guidance (AVOID and FIND); bonus information (CHECK RIDOT website).


The message uses CAPS to direct the reader's eye to key information, making it easy to read and to remember. The message also follows the exact content order that is taught in the Warning Response Model and the Warning Lexicon.


Notably, this message is 207 characters long, leaving plenty of room for additional content. A few improvements can be suggested including spelling out the name of the message source (RIDOT), offering a few alternate routes, and providing the website address (which is included in the 90-character message dot.ri.gov).


What we find most impressive about this message is that it represents what we think may be the first WEA issued using the Message Design Dashboard that was developed by the University at Albany research team The message was issued only five days after the first virtual training and it is uncannily similar to the language and form that is contained in the MDD workflow. We've reached out to RI EMA to confirm, but no response yet...




For more recommended contents, be sure to download The Warning Lexicon - it's free and offers step-by-step instructions on how to write a better warning message.

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