KABC lets viewers monitor and report on ‘Carmageddon’

In the Internet age, broadcasters’ mandated community service responsibilities have taken on new meaning. Los Angeles station KABC is providing viewers with a dedicated traffic alert app for their cell phones that looks to move people through what could turn out to be the worst traffic nightmare the city has ever seen. And, for LA, that’s saying a lot.

As the city gets prepared for “Carmageddon”— a weekend later this month when the 405 Freeway will be shut down in both directions from Friday night to Monday morning — KABC is letting viewers file their own traffic reports. Viewers can watch KABC before they leave their homes to plan their driving routes with the latest traffic news, and then use the app to get updates while they’re driving. They can also provide their own.

The ABC O&O has teamed up with Waze, the creator of a popular traffic app that lets users record traffic conditions using their smartphones. Information recorded using the app will be shared with KABC, who will air real-time traffic reports on road congestion during “Carmageddon.”

Cheryl Fair, KABC’s vice president and news director, said the traffic app allows viewers “to play an active part in easing the traffic congestion.”

The station eventually hopes to have access to Waze’s “road reporters.” KABC would be able to locate drivers on a map and could communicate with them from the scene — after they’ve pulled over, of course.

For safety reasons, consumers can’t use the Waze system while they drive.