Crowdsourcing feeds into integrated winter road conditions tool

The NZ Transport Agency is encouraging travellers through much of Canterbury and Queenstown Lakes to become on-the-spot reporters by crowdsourcing* travel information this winter to help keep the highways safer and everyone better informed about possible road hazards and winter conditions. The trial runs between July and the end of September.

The tool integrates locally-supplied information with the NZ Transport Agency’s existing traffic and travel web information on road conditions, area warnings, snow, ice, road closures and delays and it includes the district council’s local roads and road condition information on key routes as well. “This really is one network in action for customers,” said Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright.

Successfully trialled in the Queenstown Lakes District last winter, the Winter Road Report Trial and Road Conditions Tool has now been extended to other parts of the Transport Agency’s Southern Region, including high-use local roads in the Queenstown, Timaru, Mackenzie, Ashburton, Selwyn and Waimakariri districts, as well as one key route in Christchurch City most affected by ice and snow in winter – Dyers Pass Road between Cashmere and Governor’s Bay.

“Using the real-time observations of travellers on the network, the Transport Agency will have access to more timely and accurate information that can be shared to make everyone’s journey safer and more predictable,” said Ms Wright.

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 that provides an more complete update on the state highways (managed by the Transport Agency) and local roads (mostly managed by local district councils) – a one network approach for road users.

The “Road Reporter” provides localised reports using their smartphone or tablet by going online at https://nzta.abley.com/winterjourneys/ providing information and photos about hazards like crashes, slips, black ice and heavy snow, to be shared for the benefit of all travellers.

These reports are then assessed and verified against other information sources and responded to accordingly. This ensures the NZ Transport Agency is able to provide everyone with the best real-time information about road conditions.

• Main website for road users to update highway and local road information
https://nzta.abley.com/winterjourneys/

• The NZ Transport Agency’s Winter Journeys page.

• *What is crowdsourcing? 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