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Do You Drive the 405 in Westwood? New Website Shows How Rampture Impacts Your Commute

4:38 PM PDT on June 22, 2012

Today, my colleague Joe Maddela sent me a link to something he'd programmed called the Rampture Calculator. The Rampture Calculator attempts to estimate the number of days someone (commuters, residents, UCLA students) will be inconvenienced by the closure of an on or off ramp at Wilshire Boulevard to the 405.

While I had heard quite a bit about Rampture on campus -- UCLA has sent out emails, published multiple online and print news stories, tweeted, Facebooked, and even held an in-person question and answer session with Metro staff present -- the extent of the closure didn't actually resonate with me until I fiddled with Joe's calculator.

Joe's a web programmer at UCLA, and I first met him because we have mutual friends and interests in social media in higher education. I'd never associated him with my transportation-geek world, so this project took me by surprise. To learn more about what led Joe to create this calculator, I asked him a few questions. His answers are below:

1. Why did you create this microsite?

I commute daily to UCLA on the 405 freeway and my main exit is Wilshire. I was trying to calculate how long I'll be impacted by the closures which can last up to 90 days for some of the ramps. I quickly got frustrated having to search for the info, downloading a PDF, and then figuring out my on ramp/off ramp combination. The web app I developed asks 4 questions and displays how many days max a driver will be affected by "Rampture".

2. How did you create this microsite?

I wrote it in about an hour using a neat tool from Twitter called Bootstrap. I then wrote a little algorithm based on the official LA Metro guide for the ramp closures. It's web based so any device (phone, tablet, computer) with a browser can access it.

3. Will you be directly impacted? If so, how do you plan to change your travel patterns to work and other activities?

Using the app, I found out my total days in "limbo" will be 35 days. That's not too bad. Rather than driving on a busy side street, I think I'll join the gym at UCLA to kill some time.

4. How do you imagine people will use this?

When people see how many days they'll be affected by it, I hope they take the opportunity to spend some time in the surrounding community instead of being stuck in traffic. Whether it's visiting the Fowler Museum or watching a classic movie at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer, there are tons of activities in Westwood. There's a big opportunity here for local businesses to take advantage of this situation.

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