Monday, November 1, 2021

New WSDOT website goes live Nov. 7

By Mike Allende

A lot has changed with how we get and consume information in the past 15 years. Twitter was born. Streaming services blew up. Mobile devices became a regular part of our wardrobe. But one thing that hasn't changed in that time is our website.

Until now.

Starting Sunday, Nov. 7, people who log on to wsdot.wa.gov will find a new, refreshed website that makes finding information easier than ever. Whether you want mountain pass conditions, road closures, ferries schedules or anything else you might need, you'll find it in a simpler, more useful way than ever before.

Why now?
It's been more than 15 years since our website has had a major update. That's a long time in today's world. How people get information has changed significantly, and we needed to meet those needs.

We started working on the redesign three years ago. At 14,000 web pages on the site, we knew we had to do some serious spring cleaning to make it easier to navigate. We did extensive testing with a wide range of website users to see how they go about finding what they're looking for, and what information was most important to them.

On average, we have 75,000 website visitors a day and more than 60 percent of them access our site from a mobile device. So, we knew we needed to make the new site much more mobile friendly. Ninety percent of website visitors are looking for travel-related information. That obviously needed to be a huge focus of the redesign.

We think we've done that. We've narrowed the site down to about 2,000 web pages and re-written the content to make it easier to understand. Our new Travel Center feature will make it faster and more convenient for people to find what they're looking for regardless of their mode of travel. And we've made the site much more accessible so that it's a useful tool for everyone.

Our new website home page makes finding the information you need for whatever your mode of travel much simpler.

Tell me about the Travel Center
Don't mind if I do.

Whether you drive, bicycle, walk, ride a ferry, ride a bus or deliver goods, you'll find what you're looking for in our Travel Center – and you'll be able to personalize that information for your own needs.

  • Real-time travel data: You'll be able to click on this to get any travel alerts for whatever route you're traveling. Going on US 2 between Monroe and Wenatchee? Click on it and you'll be able to find lane closures, cameras, truck restrictions and mountain pass reports all in one place. You can get this information in list form, or on a real-time travel map.
  • Commercial vehicles: Truck drivers who deliver our goods will find it a lot easier to map their trips, find any restrictions and get information about permits and weigh station e-screening.
  • Ferries: With one click you'll find the ability to buy tickets, make reservations, find schedules, get real-time status updates and more.
  • Active Transportation: Looking for information and maps for bicycling, walking, running or rolling across our state? It will all be there, easy to find.
  • Riding the rails: Interested in riding Amtrak Cascades? You'll be able to find schedules, buy tickets and plan your trips right on the site.
  • And more: The travel center also has tolls info, information about border crossings and park & rides, maps you can print out, holiday weekend travel charts, information about local airports and lots more.
Our Travel Center map makes planning trips easier by showing real-time issues for whatever route you’ll be taking.

What about that project I've heard about?
Some people visit our website to find out information about a project happening near them. Our Construction and Planning section of the site will make finding a specific project easy by allowing searches by road or county. Studies? Funding? Future plans? Environmental steps we've taken? It's all there for simple browsing.

Working with WSDOT
Besides travelers, one group that regularly turns to our website for information are people and companies looking to work with us. We want to make getting that information as easy as we can so we have a Business With WSDOT section to find all our contracting opportunities and the requirements that go into bidding for work. You'll also find information about grants, highway sign advertising requirements, and more.

Anything else?
Yes, lots of stuff. Particularly in our About section, where people can find job listings, all kinds of data like traffic and crash statistics, research reports and contact information.

These are the highlights, and we invite everyone to check it out, scroll around and see what they think. We're confident website visitors will find a much more valuable, simpler to use experience where the most important information to you is just a click or two away, whether you're accessing it on a desktop or mobile device. We're excited to roll it out and hear what you think!

37 comments:

Dan said...

Anyway we can get access to the new site before it goes live?

Unknown said...

We travel the US by car and have found the traffic map to be one of the best tools for finding out about traffic congestion all over the country. Hopefully you kept this feature and didn't limit it to just Washington state?

Fanny said...

Impossible to use now. I'm used to looking at the 5 most used pass cams and now I'm totally lost with this so called easy to use webpage.

Unknown said...

The browser-based interface in this new WSDOT website is a HUGE FAIL for mobile users and a safety hazard since it requires too much phone interaction when driving to get the same info previously available for accessing Seattle area traffic with the old link: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/

If your plan is to have users install the WSDOT mobile app and never use the browser-based interface you should be very clear about this in your promotions. Perhaps you should disable the mobile version browser access entirely. There are already too many drivers screwing around with their phones, and what you have done here is create an unnecessary safety hazard.

You should consider implementing dedicated "Seattle Traffic", "Tacoma Traffic", "Olympia Traffic" etc linked webpages that contain the same info available in the previous interface. You did this for the mountain pass info, though I did have to hunt around to find a single link: https://wsdot.com/travel/real-time/mountainpasses

BenCycle said...

Not impressed with the new website. Is actually harder to see the info I want to see. And what's with the advertising in the Travel section? I want to see relevant INFORMATION on the WSDOT website - commercial advertising DOES. NOT. BELONG.

dude463.waze said...

I don't see where I can find info on future road closures. You've taken those pages away. The information you do put out for future road work really really lacks any substance.

Unknown said...

It is just a nightmare.

Unknown said...

Seems very convoluted, not a useful change. Have always depended on mountain pass "approximate TRAVEL TIMES" to help in preparation, this feature doesn't seem to be available. Could you please bring this feature back?

Barbara said...

Yes, I find the same problem. It was great to be able to look at the traffic camera map for all the state, but it is not a click away now! Help! Please put that map feature back onto the website!

Barbara said...

How do I find the map of total traffic cams in the state?

WSDOT said...

Barbara, to view all traffic cameras for the entire state, go to this page and toggle the Cameras layer on: https://wsdot.com/travel/real-time/map/

dude463.waze said...

I'm the Washington State Manager for the Waze app. Your new website is showing very very very few new construction road closures. Please don't give me the link to your new map or alerts page, they don't show me what I need. How do I set road closures in Waze when you don't give the information. The road closures I set show up in Google Maps. The road closures in Google Maps show up in your own app. So please help me help you with your own app.

Unknown said...

It'll work itself out.
These websites, apps, etc. always start off glitched.
There's always 511!

Unknown said...

Not completely worthless but close. The previous iteration was superior in every way!

Huey said...

I can’t find any of the info that I need! I miss the old site.

Unknown said...

Unfortunately, the site is laid out for use by the programmers and maintainers. Very logical that you can click, and click, and click though many pages to get what you want. However, if you want a click (or even two) to get to a specific area like Snoqualmie Pass, sorry WSDOT has determined that is not important.

As in the previous site, you should be able to easily select a specific area, and get all the information on one display - travel time, delay and construction maps, weather report, chain-up status, cameras, etc.

Designed to be maintained, not to keep the traveler easily informed.

Unknown said...

What happened to the WSdot Camano/Stanwood cameras???
The old link was great! Congratulations! Seems like everything the government tries to consolidate info it makes it impossible to access it. I am sure all this looked good on paper. We feel a loss of a very good site!

WSDOT said...

Toggle the Cameras layer on under Map Legend and zoom in on Stanwood: https://wsdot.com/travel/real-time/map/

Unknown said...

Have tried it 3 times on my phone. I toggled cameras on and zoomed to Stanwood and Camano. No camera icons appear anywhere on the map.

Seattle commuter said...

I'm very sad about this change. I used to take a quick look at how traffic looked on the major highways around Seattle, and now I can't really figure out how to find that info. Same with the passes. As others have mentioned, this is even more impossible on my phone.Sometimes change is useful, but not in this case! Very unhappy.

TC Traveller said...

I don’t see the snow depth report, historical snowfall records and a bunchof other stuff. I don’t think this site is as useful to travellers as the old site, and I definitely agree that advertising should not be here. Very disappointed.

Unknown said...

I just want a map that I can zoom in on, like south Puget Sound, that lists the incidents and alerts along my commute route, like the old site. The new site shows a map with color codes, but no incident info. I used to be able to look at my commute quickly on one page before I left the house to see if I had to alter my route. The old page worked beautifully for that. So many entities feel the need to improve their sites but and up ruining them. Unfortunately, WSDOT is in that category.

Unknown said...

this is differently a step backwards from the old site. the previous site gave a nice big picture look a the star and you could quickly get specific info with a simple click. I used the cameras a lot and now it is cumbersome and sometimes impossible to use

Anonymous said...

The new website is AWFUL. Make it easier for phone users while driving?! The only thing it'll make easier is more accidents unless there's a helpful passenger with abundant patience. Your new design is convoluted, not intuitive, and potentially dangerous to use while driving. I used to get easy, quick, useful information with a couple clicks; now I dread going to your site and have to allow more time to find what I think I might need before getting on the road. You can say what you want in the "blog" - it's NOT a useful tool for everyone. Too bad you can't get our taxpayer money back for that atrocious website design.

Unknown said...

I got it finally!
*Went to Map page
*Clicked on Map Ledgend to get to the page where I can toggle on the Camera option.
*Turned on Camera button.
●This is where I made the error. If you just go back to the Map after turning on Cameras, the Camera option is turned off automatically. Thus, no camera icons show up on the map.
*Must use Map Ledgend back arrows to get back to the map
or you will turn off the options that you just turned on!
Previously, I just types a search for "WSDOT Stanwood" and the map with all the Camano Stanwood cameras came up immediate. This does require more clicks.
Suggestion- Test new changes out on non-tech members of the public first. These would be people who only use the computer for basic Office, email, internet functions. Let them test the site without any prep whatsoever. I think it is difficult for programmers to remember what it was like when they didn't have the knowledge they now have.
Thanks.

Unknown said...

Please bring back the “at a glance” traffic congestion maps by region. I used these daily and there is no similar functionality in the new design.
I relied on the map to click the cameras I needed to see. Now I must scroll and click through 3 pages of cameras to see those on Snoqualmie Pass. Then I also need to know the names of the locations to understand where/what I’m seeing.
I will stop using WSDOT for my travel needs as the new site no longer provides equivalent functionality. This is disappointing.

Unknown said...

Very poor compared to the old map. I still cannot figure out how to access and review real time the actual traffic cameras. Forget about getting mountain pass information. I'm with earlier reviewers who question the phone app interface - no way the State should be giving drivers any option to delve into this convoluted program while driving. Whoever sold this upgrade to the State (and the buyer) need to be looked at. Not a good situation!

Oak Hollow Gallery & Frames said...

What happened to the very easy to find mountain pass weather conditions? Living in Central WA for 16 years I used it regularly to plan my trips across I-90. Too bad.

WSDOT said...

Select a mountain pass on this page to view conditions and weather forecast: https://wsdot.com/travel/real-time/mountainpasses

WSDOT said...

Snoqualmie Pass cameras: https://wsdot.com/travel/real-time/mountainpasses/Snoqualmie

Unknown said...

The WSDOT responses are even worse than the new site! Your responses only reconfirm that you are NOT LISTENING and that you DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW, WHY AND WHEN we use the website. Giving us new URL's to find things is condescending - the drivel that is heard from a 20-something kid that doesn't give a hoot about the lives or feelings of older people. And you don't have enough guts to post this critique because the 20-something WSDOT kid monitoring this conversation is not mature enough to interact with the public.

BenCycle said...

I see that the Mountain Pass pages have been changed to eliminate white space and consolidate info into a single view, no scrolling necessary. Thank you! Much improved.

Unknown said...

Users need to be aware that site usage will be different if bookmarks from the previous site are used. It appears that the page is just a new format but the reality is very different. Best solution is to make new bookmarks.

Fin said...

Where can I find the snow depth report? I use that to plan outings for my Scout Troop.

Unknown said...

I can't find an option to view the traffic map from previous years and specific days/times. Is this still available somewhere on the new website? I have relied heavily on this information over the years to identify best times to travel. I am deeply disappointed that I'm not able to find this information. Please tell me I've just been unable to find it and that it is still there somewhere . . .

No Name said...

How do I see the archive traffic data? I can't find it.

How do I see which way the I5 express lanes are going? I can't find it.

No Name said...

Where can I find the archive data that used to be available?

Where can I find the express lane direction and traffic?

Way back when, there was even HOV lane vs general lane info, I can't find that either.

I've been using the old traffic page because it provided info I couldn't get in Google Maps. Now I'm not sure what the advantage of the WSDOT page is.

I will admit that I'm kind of a stuck record in this area, but my suggestion is to concentrate on providing new information instead of just rearranging and removing what you already have. There were some magical years in there back in the late 90s/early 2000s when there was an explosion of new features. Now, not so much.

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