The Transport Agency is encouraging travellers through Canterbury as well as Queenstown Lakes District to become on-the-spot reporters by crowdsourcing* travel information. The aim of the trial, with Abley Transportation, is to help keep the highways safer and people better informed about possible road hazards and winter conditions. Road hazards might include stock on the roads or roadsides, potholes or branches blown down with high winds.
Since it began in July, the web site(external link) has had nearly 3,000 views and a number of people supplying information. “Not lots of information from the public so far, but it is still encouraging given it is a trial and restricted to Queenstown Lakes and some Canterbury districts,” says Acting Transport Agency Journey Manager Tresca Forrester.
The tool integrates locally-supplied information with the Transport Agency’s existing traffic and travel web information on road conditions, area warnings, snow, ice, road closures and delays plus the district councils’ local roads and road condition information on key routes as well. “One road network for everyone,” says Ms Forrester.
Successfully trialled in Queenstown Lakes District last winter, the Winter Road Report Trial now includes high-use local roads in the Queenstown, Timaru, Mackenzie, Ashburton, Selwyn and Waimakariri districts, as well as one key, ice-prone route in Christchurch City – Dyers Pass Road between Cashmere and Governor’s Bay.
“Using real-time observations of travellers on the network, we will have access to more timely and accurate information that can be shared to make everyone’s journey safer and more predictable,” says Ms Forrester.
The trial is part of a wider research project being undertaken by the Transport Agency and Abley Transportation Consultants to investigate the value of having an interactive winter road conditions tool to provide a more complete update on the state highways and local roads.
The “Road Reporter” provides localised reports using their smartphone or tablet by going online at https://nzta.abley.com/winterjourneys/(external link) providing information and photos about hazards like crashes, slips, black ice and snow.
These reports are then assessed and verified against other information sources and responded to accordingly. Main website for road users to update highway and local road information – https://nzta.abley.com/winterjourneys/(external link).
*What is crowdsourcing?(external link) The practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers. (Merriam-Webster(external link) definition.)