Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the new AMA Road Reports® service. We're continuing to make changes to give you more information to help you make the best travel decisions, whether you're accessing the site from your computer, smart phone or tablet. We've added some new features to help you with your summer travel planning, such as new map layers for highway rest areas. Make sure to stay on top of things by checking out the @AMARoadReports social map layer or following @AMARoadReports. Add your voice to the @AMARoadReports Twitter community by tweeting road conditions. Remember, never Tweet & Drive! We encourage you to share your feedback with us.
Information & Data Sources
- What kind of information can I get from AMA Road Reports®?
Road conditions, Traffic flow, Highway closure information, Highway camera images, Weather alerts, Construction information, Rest area locations, Wait times for AMA Roadside Assistance and real time information from Alberta's social community.
- Where do you get the information that is shown on your website?
AMA Road Reports collects information from multiple sources, including Alberta Transportation, Parks Canada, Google, Red Arrow as well as AMA.
- Road conditions: Alberta Transportation/511 Alberta, Parks Canada
- Road closures: Alberta Transportation/511 Alberta, RCMP and Parks Canada
- Traffic flow: Google
- Camera images: Alberta Transportation/511 Alberta, Parks Canada, Red Arrow
- Weather: Google (The Weather Channel)
- Roadside wait times: AMA
- Construction: Alberta Transportation/511 Alberta, Edmonton and Calgary municipal governments
- Rest areas: AMA, Wikipedia
- Incidents: AMA, Alberta Transportation/511 Alberta, the Twitter community
- Roadside Assistance Wait Times
To view wait times, select AMA Services from the map layer menu on the left. Use the map to find the location you are interested in and click on the blue map pin with the image of a tow truck, which will open up the information for that location.
Wait times are updated hourly, but extenuating circumstances can sometimes alter the exact time you may have to wait for service. We will provide you with your estimated wait time after you request roadside assistance online or when at the time you call. Please note that priority is given to members who are in an unsafe situation.
Wait times can also vary depending on the type of service you require:
- Full service: towing, winching
- Light service: boost, lockout, fuel, flat tire
- Battery service: test, replacement
- Locksmith: key replacement
Wait Times are shown on the map for all towns and cities with a population greater than 10,000
Request assistance online or call 1-800-CAA-HELP (222-4357)
- Why are the camera images outdated?
- There are over 100 roadside cameras that capture images, which are automatically updated three times per hour. In addition, there are AMA Dashcams installed on Red Arrow coaches that provide a close-up view of road surface conditions from a driver's perspective. A new image is added approximately every 7 minutes while the bus is on route, and each image is displayed for 4 hours before disappearing from the map. If you aren't seeing up-to-date images try refreshing your browser or clearing your browsing history before trying again.
- Where is the weather information that used to be with the highway cameras?
- AMA lost access to this information when the Alberta Government introduced their new 511 Alberta service. AMA now has access to this information and will add it back to the highway camera images provided by Alberta Transportation in the near future.
- Why are some of the camera locations missing?
- To keep the map from becoming too cluttered with camera icons, some are hidden until you zoom into the map. As you zoom in you will see more detail. When you zoom in closely to the map, then you can pan the map up or down, left or right to see other areas of the map. If you still cannot see a camera location, then there may be a problem and we would appreciate an email from you alerting us.
- Why don't I see any blue camera icons on the map?
- With the help of partners like Red Arrow, AMA Dashcam images are captured from partner vehicles every 7 minutes as they travel across the province. These images are only captured when a Red Arrow coach/bus is travelling on its route, which include Lethbridge to Calgary, Calgary to Edmonton and Edmonton to Fort McMurray. The images from a particular bus are only shown for 4 hours. So there will be times when no images are available. AMA plans to expand this service to have more frequent images and cover more highways throughout the province.
- Who decides where the highway cameras will be?
Alberta Transportation owns over eighty of the highway cameras featured on AMA's website. Parks Canada owns two in Banff National Park. Each group determines where their cameras will be located.
With the help of partners like Red Arrow, AMA Dashcam images are captured from partner vehicles every 7 minutes as they travel across the province. This means the camera image locations are random and they do not update in the same way as stationary cameras. The images are removed from the website after 4 hours. AMA plans to expand this service to cover more highways throughout the province.
- What’s the difference between the Traffic layer and the Road Conditions layer?
The Traffic layer shows how well traffic is moving (provided there is enough traffic on the road to report on).
When selected, the road colour indicates the speed of traffic:
- Green = Traffic speed is normal
- Yellow = Traffic speeds are slow
- Red = Traffic speeds are very slow
- Red/Black = Significant delays
- Grey = No data is available
- Bare = Green
- Partially covered = Yellow
- Covered = Red
- Closed = Black
Using both of these layers lets you better plan your route before heading out on the roads. How? Well, you may think you’ll arrive on time driving on a perfectly bare and dry road, but that may not be the case if that road has a collision or train delay that is impacting traffic.
In case you were wondering, we get the data for our Traffic layer from Google. Data is currently available for major cities and the QE2, and AMA’s website will automatically reflect any coverage improvements that Google introduces.
- How do you get the road condition information that is shown on your website?
- AMA has a longstanding partnership with Alberta Transportation and Parks Canada allowing us to offer road conditions across the province. During the winter reporting season, the highway maintenance contractors provide the government with road condition updates each morning and again when the road conditions change. If the road conditions do not change, Alberta Transportation and Parks Canada do not require their highway maintenance staff to update the highway conditions.
- Why is the road condition information outdated?
The weather changes quickly and it isn't always possible to display up-to-the minute conditions. As a third party in the reporting process we rely on Alberta Transportation and Parks Canada to report the most up to date information.
If conditions appear to be out of date:
- try refreshing your browser by reloading the page to make sure you are seeing current information
- check for the red alert box above the map to find out about serious dangers or delays
- check the @AMARoadReport layer and/or page to see the social commentary about current driving conditions
- and check the weather forecast for the area you are travelling.
- Why can't I view Road Conditions and Traffic at the same time?
- The road conditions and traffic layers cannot be viewed together because they all show information as coloured lines on the highways, and some of the layers use similar coloured lines that mean something different. Every time you select one of these layers it will close the other if they were previously selected.
- The highway is closed but your site doesn't reflect that
- Alberta Transportation/511 Alberta and Parks Canada work with RCMP, local law enforcement and emergency services to determine highway closures. Road closures on the map are provided by Alberta Transportation/511 Alberta. If AMA Road Reports verifies there are highway closures we will share that information through our website alerts and @AMARoadReports on Twitter. We understand your concern and appreciate you letting us know about road closures.
Using the Map
- Why does the map not seem to include all of the information that was on the old site?
- For almost all information, we have the same information as before or more. If you are not seeing the information on the map, then it is likely that you need to zoom in to see more detail. When you zoom in closely to the map, then you can pan the map up or down, left or right to see other areas of the map.
- How can I see more detailed road condition information?
- If you click on a coloured road segment line on the map, an information window will open that displays all of the details for that road segment.
- How can I see more cameras?
- If you zoom in on the map you will see more cameras (see question on zooming below for more detail). Once you have zoomed in, then you can pan the map up or down, left or right to see other areas of the map.
- I can see a map with icons on it, but how do I get the detailed information I need?
- Most icons, shapes or lines are clickable. After clicking on an icon, an information window will pop up with the details. Once you have finished with the information, you can click on the X in the top right corner or click anywhere outside the information window.
- The map has too many icons on it, how do I make it easier to manage?
- There are two things you can do. First is turn off any map layers you are not really interested in by clicking on the appropriate menu items in the left hand navigation. Next, zoom into the specific area you are interested in. As you zoom in, the icons will tend to spread out making it easier to click on one of them.
- How can I make it easier to click on the right icon?
- As mentioned in the previous question, turn off unnecessary layers and zoom the map in closer to the area you are interested in.
- How do I zoom in or out on the map?
- How you zoom into the area you are interested in depends on the device you are using. For PCs you can click on the +/- signs in the upper right corner or use the wheel on the top of your mouse if it has one. If you are using a mobile device with a touch screen you use your fingers to either pinch the map surface to zoom out or touch the screen with two fingers and spread them apart to zoom in. You can also do a quick double tap on a location to zoom in.
- How can I move the map to a new area?
- How you “pan” to a new area on the map depends on the device you are using. For PCs you can click on the arrows inside the white circle at the top right of the map. There are 4 arrows that will move the map in the direction of the arrow. You can also use your mouse by clicking the left mouse button on the map and holding it down while you move the mouse, then you release the mouse button and repeat as required. If you are using a mobile device with a touch screen you use your finger to swipe the map and move the map in the direction of your swipe.
- When I use the search box it does not work?
- Currently the search box only works for searching for towns and cities. Sometimes when you search the map will adjust but you cannot see the town you searched for. This occurs because Google knows where the town is but the map is not zoomed in enough for the town name to appear. If you zoom in on the centre of the map you will find your town.
- How can I see the hourly or 10-day weather forecast in Celsius?
- When you click on the hourly or 10-day link you are taken to The Weather Channel website. To change the default reporting in Fahrenheit (°F) to Celsius (°C) click on the °C link in the top right corner of the page.
- What devices and browsers does AMA Road Reports support?
AMA Road Reports® intends to support all main stream devices and browsers. For the optimal
experience we recommend you keep your browser up-to-date. Here is the current list of supported devices and
- Apple Macs, iPhones & iPads: Safari, Chrome & Firefox
- PCs: IE 8,9,10; Chrome, Firefox
- Android devices: native browser
- BlackBerry 7: limited view (no map)
- BlackBerry 10: limited, known issue with map icon not displaying properly
- Windows Phone 8: IE
- What is Twitter?
- Twitter is a social networking site that allows users to send messages called “Tweets” with 140 characters or less. AMA Road Reports® has adopted Twitter as part of our contact channel so that we can provide you with the most up to date road conditions and data. Our Twitter account is managed locally by passionate people who aim to deliver the most accurate information possible. Join over 32,000 followers and become part of the Alberta road reporting community.
- How do I create great road and traffic tweets?
We all want to get to where we’re going safely and in decent time, but that can be challenging when road conditions or traffic delays get in the way. Thankfully, with so many mobile devices on the market, sharing information has never been easier.
It’s great that you’re tweeting about traffic and road condition updates, but those tweets are limited to the Twitter community. We want everyone to hear the news. That’s why we monitor traffic related tweets around Alberta and incorporate them into AMA Road Reports.
To ensure everyone has the information they need to make the best driving decision, we need to make sure enough information is being provided. That’s why we encourage you to structure your Tweets like this:
Traffic Issue + Direction + Road + Location Description + Optional Info + #hashtags
When we put all these elements together, you can see it creates a very clear Tweet:
- Collision westbound on Yellowhead at 156 St intersection keep right #yegtraffic
- Icy road conditions, vehicles in ditch southbound n QE2 near the airport - slow down #abroads #yegtraffic
- Southbound on Calf Rope Bridge is very slow because of stall, stay left, find another route #yyctraffic
- What open source software is used by AMA Road Reports?
- AMA Road Reports would like to thank all of the providers of open source tools, in particular those used by this project and their associated licenses that include:
- How can I provide feedback about the new site?
- We value your opinion and appreciate your feedback to help us deliver the best possible service to our members and the public. Click here to contact us.