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BCHighways app makes driving safer and easier

AirSenze is the first tech firm to build an app using DriveBC’s Open511 road event data.

Easy to access roadway information and maps will make it much easier for motorists planning their daily commute with a new, free BCHighways app that uses information from DriveBC.

Created by AirSenze Solutions, BCHighways provides real-time access to provincial highway information including road closures, planned work and extreme weather conditions.

The free app also features estimated border crossing wait times, traffic camera images and integrates DriveBC’s Twitter feed. BCHighways is not intended to be used while driving; anyone wanting to use it, or any other app on the go, must find a safe place to stop their vehicle first.

“By making DriveBC’s Open511 data available to the public, we’re helping make driving on B.C. highways even safer for British Columbians and apps like these share our valuable road information system making it more available to more people," said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

"The more people who ‘know before they go’ — whether they check the DriveBC website, mobile site, phone system or partner apps — the easier it is to make better travel decisions.”

AirSenze is the first tech firm to build an app using DriveBC’s Open511 road event data, made available through the BC Developers’ Exchange. The Developers’ Exchange is making it easier for local software entrepreneurs to do business with government.

It also promotes the commercialization and rapid adoption of innovation between British Columbia’s tech industry and the public sector by making government digital resources easily accessible.

AirSenze Solutions, also known as FreshWorks Studio, is a Victoria-based mobile app development firm founded by University of Victoria alumni Samarth Mod and Rohit Boolchandani in 2014.

The company is making the BCHighways app available on Apple and Android mobile devices and has plans to add notifications.

“After getting stuck for two hours driving to Banff because of an accident, we saw the perfect opportunity to develop a native app using DriveBC’s open511 data," said Samarth Mod, CEO and co-founder, AirSenze.

"We think it’s super cool that B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has provided the open data to BC Developers’ Exchange and giving companies like ours the data we need to develop easy to use apps that benefit the lives of millions of people.

"And as a startup, we also wanted to show our expertise to the government to gain trust and credibility. Hence, it results in a win-win situation for everyone.”

BCHighways is designed to assist drivers with route planning before driving; using any electronic handheld device while driving is prohibited under B.C.'s distracted-driving law.

The #BCTECH Strategy is a key component of the BC Jobs Plan to support the growth of B.C.’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen British Columbia’s diverse innovation economy. The multi-year strategy includes a $100-million BC Tech Fund and initiatives to increase talent development and market access for tech companies that will drive innovation and productivity throughout the province.

In partnership with the BC Innovation Council, the Province is hosting B.C.’s second #BCTECH Summit, March 14-15, 2017, with made-in-B.C. tech innovations, thought-provoking keynotes and outstanding networking opportunities. To register or learn more, go to: http://bctechsummit.ca

Quick Facts:

  • BCHighways is available for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV and Android mobile devices.
  • Currently, 12 public sector organizations have joined the BC Developers’ Exchange, each having one or more projects.
  • Public sector organizations post their software development needs on GitHub, the popular code sharing platform, and developers respond with computer source code solutions.
  • Since creating the BC Developers’ Exchange, government has spoken with over 400 developers through a series of face-to-face meetings in Vancouver, Victoria and the Interior.
  • The Province has also collaborated with the tech sector to test ideas in design sessions.
  • In October 2015, DriveBC made all of its live road event and condition data available to the public via a brand new API using the Open511 standard.
  • Open511-DriveBC is the first Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure API to be released by the Province with data licensed under the Open Government License.