VicRoads - Road Closures & Traffic Alerts - VicRoads
Julian Carroll - Project Manager Andrew Markham - Lead Developer Matt Evans - Senior Developer Ben Morrall - Developer
Ever wished you'd known about a traffic jam before you hit it? Us too! So when VicRoads asked Wave Digital to build an app that would help ordinary road users (as well as emergency services and the media) spot traffic hazards and road closures in advance, we were only too happy to help.
It wasn't Friday night footy traffic that sparked the idea for the app. In the wake of the 2010 Victorian floods, VicRoads knew it needed a rock-solid information service that would give drivers on-the-spot access to accurate, real-time information about road closures, wherever they were.
So they asked Wave Digital to build a mobile app that people could use as easily from any mobile device as they could their computers. The app had to be eminently usable, so that even those unlucky souls seeking alternative routes in situ, and under extreme conditions - like floods, fires ... or a backseat full of screaming kids - could get the information they needed, and get going.
The app we built, VicRoads Road Closures & Traffic Alerts, is now Victoria's official source of road closure information during emergencies.
Its interactive maps give road users fast access to traffic alerts in their area, and details of which roads are closed and why. This lets users plan alternative, less congested, and quicker routes either before they leave home, or from the roadside.
Ultimately, our app puts the once hapless Victorian road user back in the driver's seat.
Project Innovation / Need
Road Closures & Traffic Alerts is like the road user's crystal ball. It combines the familiar Google Maps API with VicRoads' wealth of traffic and road data in a thoroughly usable and accessible app that helps drivers and riders stay out of trouble.
We used cutting-edge responsive design techniques, and an empathetic approach to user experience design, to build an app that's effortless to use, whether you're sitting at your office computer planning the commute home, or parked on a roadside slightly west of some town you've never heard of, swiping frantically at your phone.
Victorian road users constitute a mass audience, so the app had to be as effortless to use as possible. We designed a user experience that's equally useful to both metro users and their country cousins, and ensures that even users with low reading or English skills-like tourists-can get the information they need at a glance.
We started with the familiar Google Maps API, and used VicRoads data to pinpoint alert and closure locations on Victorian maps. The world's simplest legend, entailing five intuitive symbols, enables users to see at a glance what each type of alert is: road closed, road reopened, traffic alert, town road closed, or detour route.
A simple list displays latest alerts to users as they're announced, to the map's right-hand side. Users can click on either the map points or the list to get more information about any alert. Finding out, for example, that a traffic alert is about "debris on the road" or "road damage" helps road users decide whether to use roads that, while they're open, might be congested or a hassle to drive on.
Finally, users can refine the listed results and the map view to their local region or municipality, and bookmark those results so that the app always provides them with local information.
Road Closures & Traffic Alerts is promoted on the VicRoads homepage (http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/). Each Alert is automatically tweeted (https://twitter.com/vicroads) with a link back to the app.