DriveBC is the British Columbia traveller information system designed to provide citizens with 24/7 access to current road conditions, incidents and events along the provincial highway network.
The ministry recognized that an ideal traveller information system would have the ability to enter data in a timely and efficient manner by both ministry and contracted staff from anywhere at any time. In developing a web based input utility the ministry was able to address these requirements.
The public website displays traveller information in a text list as well as a visual map. The DriveBC map displays icons for road conditions, incidents and future planned events as well as a number of other features such as weather forecasts, dynamic message signs and inland ferry information just to name a few.
The BC HighwayCams are one of the most popular features on DriveBC, displaying over 290 webcam images province-wide. These images are frequently refreshed to ensure that motorists continue to have access to a visual of the latest road and traffic conditions.
The map interface provides users with an intuitive map for planning their routes. From the map legend users can choose which icons they would like displayed on the map. They also have the option to zoom in and out to get a closer look at the conditions surrounding their community.
Data entered into DriveBC by ministry staff and contracted staff is displayed on the public website and issued to email and Twitter subscribers simultaneously. It also goes to the toll-free phone service, where the latest in text-to-speech technology, makes it instantly available to the public via the toll-free phone line 1-800-550-HWYS.
The conditions and events tab on DriveBC allows citizens to view current road conditions and events in text format. Users may narrow down the scope of the text list by choosing to view by major event, area, route or popular route. Major events indicate weather advisories, road closures and delays expected to last longer than 30 minutes.
Other key features include several emergency messaging functions such as Amber Alerts for missing children, Public Safety campaigns such as winter driving tips, and Public Safety Announcements such as flooding, fires, or avalanches.
In 2011, the DriveBC team responded to the changing social media connected culture and technological advances by creating a mobile site that was accessible from any internet connection, without disrupting regular service. This site was designed and developed by ministry staff and continues to be maintained within the ministry.
Several additions were made in 2012 in response to public feedback, including: a plan your route feature, email subscriptions, Twitter by region, and increased weather information.
The result is clear, consistent and current information that is accessible to citizens, in a number of service options, to meet a variety of needs. As Drive BC continues to grow, the team is constantly responding to public feedback and addressing their needs through continued development.