Some app designers in Quebec City couldn’t get over how much money the City of Edmonton spent designing its “smart travel” app. To them it is a complete waste of money.
Instead, they’ve got an app for your phone that will let you know where radar is, so you can drive at a safe speed.
“It works like a radar detector,” said Nagib El Mansouri, a bus driver in Quebec City who teamed up with some partners to create the Camarad app. “Except it isn’t a radar detector because it uses the information that people are sending to the app. It’s a crowd source application, a little bit like Gas Buddy.”
Drivers all day, supply fresh info identifying radar locations, both stationary photo radar locations including red light cameras, and mobile police manned locations. The app compiles the tips, then sends a message to your phone when you’re getting close.
“It is unlawful to use your cell phone while you’re driving so that’s why we decided to implement something that allows you to move the radar from where you are right now to the location where you saw it.”
The group started with a Facebook page, then as demand grew created the app.
“Right now, we’ve got 95,000 downloads, and our app is free. And it works, so people are using it.” He adds that they get between 20 000 and 30 000 daily uses. As long as there’s enough input of radar locations from other drivers, El Mansouri said it will work in Edmonton.
“If you choose that you want to be warned from three kilometers, as soon as you get close to that radar, the phone will send you a signal,” El Mansouri said in a phone interview. “It will vibrate, or it will send you a Morse code, that will warn you. So you won’t slow down close to the radar, you will slow down actually three kilometers before the radar.”
“They asked police officers from Quebec City if the app was a good thing. The goal of the radar operation is to make sure that people slow down, so if the app makes people slow down, I guess it’s a good thing.”
At least one city councillor thinks this radar location smart phone app is a good idea.
“Anything that we can do to make travel safer, for what ever reason, is certainly a good idea,” said Coun. Tony Caterina. “I’d certainly be prepared to use it.”
Edmonton he said has seen pockets of frustration over radar being a cash cow. “We’ve had some concerns now, where the public shows up with posters and banners positioning themselves on the road to advise you that there’s a photo radar vehicle coming up ahead. I think that this is fairly similar to that, and much safer using it over an app rather than actually having the public out on roadways.”
And Edmonton’s “smart travel” app? “That is sick man. I just don’t get it. I mean they are taking taxpayers’ money to implement something that is that bad.”
“The developer of the app, which is one of my friends, he told me, ‘I can’t believe they paid $250,000 for that? I could have done it for less than a thousand dollars.”