Asking road users what they need

BC HighwayCams: "Know before you go"

“Where would you like to see a BC HighwayCam in our province to better help you know before you go?”

It’s an important question indeed – for working drivers and the public – and throughout June it was TranBC‘s monthly survey question. These cameras contribute to the safety of all road users who can go online, see road conditions, and plan their routes.

TranBC is an online education, awareness, and engagement initiative of the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. It was on Twitter that I first saw a link to their HighwayCam survey – and I wondered how many participated.

I asked Russel Lolacher, director of social media for the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Business Management Services. He said (on June 21) they had received more than 500. (Update: “FYI, we ended up with over 700 responses to the web cam survey. Great feedback as to where people want new cams,” said @TranBC via Twitter on July 3).

“BC highway webcams are one of our most popular online services here at the Ministry of Transportation, and to better serve the public, we want to engage those that use them,” Russel said, via email. “We would like to hear from professional drivers due to their experience, travelling our transportation consistently. Their knowledge is invaluable, as is their input.”

Starting conversations and building relationships

TranBC is using many platforms to connect with their stakeholders – i.e., this survey, along with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more (see below). I asked Russel if he had any advice for organizations who want to use this social media technology to get input from their own stakeholders.

“The best piece of advice I would recommend is not to look at it as using technology, but rather as hearing from people. The social platforms you’ve just mentioned are just tools, it’s the human engagement that matters most regardless of the medium you use,” Russel said.

“To be successful in hearing from your stakeholders, an organization has to look at it as an ongoing conversation and relationship building, rather than ‘one-offs.’ Through our social channels such as TranBC and DriveBC, we are working to build a long-term presence as the online BC Transportation resource for the travelling public.”

Each month, TranBC is launching a different survey. In July, the public is invited to share their views on how Transportation and Infrastructure can improve its level of customer service.

You can find TranBC on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, Foursquare, and – most recently – Pinterest.


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