And, most seriously, this is A83 related. It is a phenomenon we have noticed before and which we have checked on over the past 24 hours and can now verify as a recurring and misleading trait in the information management systems on this vital website.
Traffic Scotland has two peak reporting periods in the day – the morning and evening rush hours. The traffic concentrations information in those periods seems to replace ongoing situation reporting already there.
Whether this is the case in general or only – which would be odd – in the case of the landslide troubled A83, we cannot tell but we can say that it definitely does affect the constancy of re3porting on the A83 situation.
For example, in the ongoing heavy rain of the last couple of days, we have been continually checking for any change in the driving conditions up at Rest and Be Thankful, on the A83.
Signed off early this morning – at 01.55 – there were no noticed on any problems at the Rest.
At 08.05 the usual results of the morning rush hour were occupying every line in the Current Incidents List. There was nothing on the A83. The same was true at 09.10.
When we checked at 10.30 however, the rush hour list had disappeared and a notice – timed at 02.44.37 was there for the A83, issuing a warning of increased risk of landslides.
If the timing of the notice was correct, it had been shunted out by the rush hour traffic information some time before 08.05 and had regained its place when the rush hour information reduced, some time between 09.10 and 10.30.
Yet this information represents notice of potential threat to life and is advising drivers to ‘exercise extreme caution’ in transit on the Rest and Be Thankful section of the A83.
This warning notice remained in place throughout the rest of today until we checked at 16.45, when we discovered that, once again, the rush hour traffic had displaced the A83 landslide warning, which had disappeared.
We cannot tell exactly when in the previous hour, it had been removed.
Given the heavy and persistent rain that was and is ongoing as of now, it was highly unlikely that the increased risk of landslides at Rest and Be Thankful would suddenly have abated.
And indeed, one minute ago, at 16.58, the A83 warning notice was replaced and is now in view, still showing its original timing of 02.44.37.
It is worth pointing out that traffic on a landslide prone area of road is at greatest risk during morning and evening traffic swhenn it is at its greatest concentration. If the exercise of ‘extreme caution’ has any practical utility outside protecting bureaucrats backs, that utility must lie in the ability to choose not to travel on that road.
If the warnings are displaced by normal traffic build up information at these times, drivers are being put at increased risk by by Transport Scotland itself, through the withholding of available information when they may need it most.
We have noticed a reduction recently in the occasions when these landslide hazard warnings for the A83 are issued. That is fine if it is focusing on the realistic chances of a landslip.
But that makes it even more imperative that when such a risk is notifiable, it should not be displaced from the Current Incidents List on this official government website.
As we have said, to our first hand knowledge, this is not the first tine we have noticed this phenomenon. It is the first time we have logged it.