CommuterLink Is Looking Pretty Tired


Plowing Snow

My daughter called me from Heber this afternoon to tell me she'd be late getting home because Highway 189 through Provo Canyon was closed. I went out to the Internet to try and find out what was going on and was pretty disappointed.

The primary site for road conditions is CommuterLink, run by the Utah Department of Transportation. When this site launched with much fanfare in 2001, just in time for the Olympics, it was state of the art. Now it's looking pretty tired. I found my self wishing they'd just used Google maps. In fact, for traffic information, that's what I do since Google maps gets the traffic data, but they don't show road closures.

I tried googling provo canyon avalanche and found this nice little news article from news.utah.gov. Only one small problem--can you tell which day this is for? I can't. It's not even encoded in the URL. Argh.

The CommuterLink site is a good example of why it's hard for government to build Web applications. Web applications are products and as such they require constant update in a world where there's no reward for doing the work. A better option for government is to be the provider of data and let the private sector build the applications.

As for my daughter, I sent her home through Parley's canyon and Salt Lake. She was headed to Draper anyway tonight, so no lost time and a certain outcome on the road. Provo Canyon's still closed as far as I can tell from clicking the Emergency Alerts button (which for some strange reason returns PDF...huh?!?)