A new

New app will help B.C. drivers

The BCHighways app makes use of information from the Ministry of Transportation to keep drivers informed about the roads.

A new, free, app called BCHighways promises to provide easy-to-access roadway information and maps that will make driving easier for B.C. motorists.

BCHighways provides real-time access to provincial highway information, including road closures, planned roadwork, and extreme weather conditions. The app also includes estimated border crossing wait times and traffic camera images, and is designed to assist drivers with route planning before they drive.

“It will tell you driving conditions all over the province,” Transportation Minister Todd Stone told The Journal. “And it has the added capacity of being very specific about the real-time driving conditions within 50 kilometers of where you are.”

The app was developed by AirSenze Solutions, a Victoria-based mobile app development firm. The app uses data from DriveBC’s Open511 road event data, and Stone is excited about the results.

“What’s really cool about it is that we made the 511 road event data available through the BC Development Exchange,” says Stone. “We have so much [road] information available, and we wanted to encourage software entrepreneurs to access that data at no cost and develop apps.

“It’s a really nice complement to the DriveBC site. And there were no taxpayer dollars involved with it, and no effort on the Ministry of Transportation’s part, but it benefits all drivers in the province.”

Drivers should take note, however: the BCHighways app is designed to be used before setting out, or during pauses en route. Using any electronic handheld device while driving is prohibited under B.C.’s distracted driving law.

When asked about the variable speed limit signs that were put in place on three stretches of highway—including the Coquihalla—earlier this year, Stone says that the program has proved very successful. “The speed limit has been dropped, to as low as 60 kilometers an hours, 50 or 60 times so far on the Coquihalla, mostly because of heavy rain or construction. But we’re really keen to see it put to the ultimate test, which is during winter.”

He says that on November 15, the speed limit on the Coquihalla was dropped to 80 kilometers an hour because of heavy snow. Sensors transmit weather and traffic data in real time to the Regional Transportation Management Centre (RTMC) in Coquitlam. The signs require drivers to slow down to match the speed posted, regardless of the regular speed limits on that stretch of highway.

Weather and traffic data are collected for pavement grip, visibility, temperature, traffic volume, and speed, then transmitted in real time to the RTMC, where a lower speed limit can be authorized by an operator with the appropriate authority to set speed limits.

Instructions are then sent to signs in the field to post the new speed limit.

Stone says that drivers seem to have adapted to the variable speed limit signs. “Most motorists are in solid compliance with the speeds posted.”

To download the free BCHighways app—available for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Android mobile devices—go to http://highwaysapp.com.

 

Just Posted

Ministry ‘fumbled the ball’ on Station House: Hope mayor

Hope cannot take ownership of project as highway ministry did not consult with First Nations

Fraser Health patients to see 23% more knee, hip replacement surgeries

First-available surgeon approach will reduce waitlists, B.C. health minister says

Council to vote on 2018 budget and five-year financial plan Monday

Budget increases two per cent with paving, Othello road upgrades, finishing wastewater plant planned

In search of treasured metals

John Fair runs a modern day panning school in Hope and Yale

Hope shines at 16-team girls’ tournament

Teams from Kootenays, Vanderhoofe , Pender Harbour in town over weekend

VIDEO: B.C. man recognized for spinning basketball on toothbrush

Abbotsford man holds world record for longest duration of time of 60.5 seconds

VIDEO: Vets, volunteers set up vaccination station for sick bunnies

Volunteers, vets try to stop spread of lethal virus

If you see a dog in a hot car, don’t break in: SPCA

People are being discouraged from smashing windows to free animals. The SPCA has tips on what else you can do.

Municipal election loophole will be fixed, premier says

Union, corporate donations still allowed for slate party ‘operational’ needs

Cat found stuffed in box in Dumpster in northeastern B.C.

Still alive, cat was found near Dawson Creek restrained with zip ties, legs forced behind neck

Fears prompt feds to establish BBQ brush safety standards

Wire-bristle safety fears prompt Ottawa to establish BBQ brush safety standards

Don’t forget about women left to sweep up shards of glass ceiling, W7 urges G7

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau champions gender equality at the G7 he is being asked to raise the concerns of marginalized women

Canadian air travel industry fears pilot flight-time limits will go too far

Air carriers urge feds to slow down flight-time limits for sleepy pilots

B.C. man charged with litany of drug charges in cross-border smuggling operation

William Milton Barnes of Saanich faces multiple charges

Most Read