Struggling to navigate DriveBC updates? 'Streamlined' page may be a better option
It appears drivers struggling to navigate the province's road closures website weren't alone.
Recently, the B.C. Transportation Ministry announced a "streamlined" advisory page, meant to help those impacted by closures get only the information they actually need.
Some have found the DriveBC website, an online hub maintained by the ministry, a bit difficult to navigate.
It's partially due to the sheer volume of content. Drivers can view maps, webcams and more, in addition to road conditions and events including closures.
But those closures are part of a long list in small red font.
Entries are phrased in a way that may not be understood at first glance. For example, "Highway 1 in both directions."
Initially that may seem to mean the highway is closed, as the same phrasing would be used if it was, but it's actually just an alert that impacts both directions. Reading further along the entry, the driver sees that in fact this particular closure applies only to non-essential travel. The page does not say what counts essential travel.
And, looking only at "major" events on the Trans-Canada Highway Wednesday morning, there are eight separate entries. Someone trying to garner the information they need quickly would have to read through, looking for the stretch that actually impacts them, and then read the details.
It's not an impossible task by any means, and the list can be filtered by area, route and other factors, but for a stressed out driver, it may be frustrating or hard to read. And in the event of a major natural disaster, such as the province is currently dealing with, the information could be presented in a simpler way.
The ministry also maintains a Twitter account by the same name, where staff regularly post updates which include links to specific closures, but with so many messages going out in a day, it can take some time to scroll through and find the information needed on a particular highway.
It appears ministry staff felt the same, as they've recently been promoting what they call "streamlined DriveBC travel information" on its advisory page.
This page does not include all closures in the province, but instead focuses on those currently impacted by recent weather events.
It's a list, in larger font and separated by headings. It also includes links, so that drivers who see their route is open for essential travel only can find out what that means and read the latest news releases and advisories issued by the ministry.
It's a much easier read for those looking for information specific to flooding. It includes details on abandoned vehicles being towed from Highway 7, which was closed for days due to landslides, and on how many lanes are open on sections of Highway 1 (single-lane alternating traffic between Yale and Boston Bar after an overnight rockfall, for example).
The page is meant to provide a quick look at the status of storm-impacted highways. The ministry still advises drivers to monitor its Twitter account for the latest information, suggesting that will be updated first, before the streamlined site.