British Columbia Road Report: DriveBC Releases ‘Lite’ Version of Website

VANCOUVER –

It appears drivers struggling to navigate the province’s road closures website were not alone.

Recently, the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation announced a “simplified” advice page to help those affected by closures get only the information they really need.

Some found the DriveBC website, an online hub maintained by the ministry, a bit difficult to navigate.

This is in part due to the sheer volume of content. Drivers can view maps, webcams and more, in addition to road conditions and events, including closures.

But these closures are part of a long list in small red print.

The entries are worded in a way that may not be understood at first glance. For example, “Highway 1 in both directions”.

At first, this may seem like the highway is closed, as the same wording would be used if it did, but it’s actually just an alert that impacts both ways. Reading the entry further, the driver will see that in fact this particular closure only applies to non-essential trips. The page does not say what matters essential travel.

And, looking at only the “major” events on the Trans-Canada Highway on Wednesday morning, there are eight separate entrances. Someone who is trying to quickly gather the information they need should read up, look for the stretch that is actually affecting them, and then read the details.

This is by no means an impossible task, and the list can be filtered by area, route, and other factors, but for a stressed-out driver it can be frustrating or difficult to read. And in the event of a major natural disaster, like the one the province is currently facing, the information could be presented in a simpler way.

The ministry also maintains a Twitter account of the same name, where staff regularly post updates that include links to specific closures, but with so many messages coming out per day, it can take a while to scroll through and find the ones. information needed on a particular highway.

It seems the ministry staff felt the same, as they recently promoted what they call “DriveBC’s easy travel information” on their tips page.

This page does not include all the closures in the province, but rather focuses on those currently affected by recent weather events.

It is a list, in large print and separated by headings. It also includes links, so drivers who see their route is only open for essential trips can find out what that means and read the latest press releases and advisories issued by the ministry.

It’s much easier read for those looking for specific flood information. It includes details of abandoned vehicles towed from Highway 7, which was closed for days due to landslides, and the number of lanes open on sections of Highway 1 (single lane traffic) alternated between Yale and Boston Bar after a rockfall overnight, for example).

The page is intended to provide a quick overview of the condition of the storm-affected highways. The ministry still advises drivers to watch his Twitter account for the latest information, suggesting they will be updated first, before the streamlined site.



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