Victoria-based mobile app developers AirSenze Solutions, also known as FreshWorks Studio, has unveiled its free BCHighways app, built to provide motorists real-time access to provincial roadway information and maps, including road closures, planned work and extreme weather conditions, to help them plan their commute.
The BCHighways app is available for Apple and Android mobile devices, and AirSenze plans to add notifications.
“We made a commitment in our #BCTECH Strategy to make it easier for B.C. tech companies to do business with government and our partnership with AirSenze is an example of that,” said Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, Amrik Virk. “Government’s BC Developers’ Exchange has shared government data with a private company and now they’ve developed an easy to use app that will help motorists get where they need to go and avoid traffic hang-ups along the way.”
AirSenze Solutions was founded in 2014 by University of Victoria graduates Samarth Mod and Rohit Boolchandani.
The app was built using DriveBC’s Open511 road event data, made available through the BC Developers’ Exchange, and also integrates DriveBC’s Twitter feed, while featuring estimated border crossing wait times, and traffic camera images.
“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 AirSenze CEO and co-founder Samarth Mod. “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.”
In creating the BC Developers’ Exchange, the aim of which is to promote commercialization and innovation between British Columbia’s tech and public sectors by making government digital resources easily accessible, the government has spoken directly through a series of face-to-face meetings in Vancouver, Victoria and the Interior, with over 400 local app developers.
“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 Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Todd Stone. “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.”
Though the app is designed to help drivers, the BC government is also quick to point out that it frowns upon motorists using a mobile device while driving, advising people that “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.”