Traffic jam busting app launched by entrepreneur – Manchester Evening News

Traffeek allows people to create live traffic reports while they are on the move

Source: www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

It’s always good to see people coming up with new apps and in New Zealand the NZ Transport Agency is trying to encourage developers to come up with new solutions and I’m interested to see where this goes with both my NZTA and my SoLoMo hats on.The following statements are my personal opinions only.

The obvious questions were asked straight away in this story, which are:

1. It is illegal to use your mobile while driving and could cause an accident. The same applies with TomTom, Waze or any other device. If you were to have an accident while entering data on your mobile or your car navigation unit, you could be charged with some form of dangerous driving while distracted.

It isn’t illegal to tick a box, for example when my TomTom PND (dedicated Portable Navigation Device) finds a quicker route and asks me if I want to change to it. But again if I started doing some serious data entry, for example sending a correction through to TomTom, saying the road they sent me up is now blocked off, or has a turn restriction on it, and I had an accident, I’m sure I would risk prosecution. If I didn’t have an accident and my driving behaviour remained safe and within the law, I suspect that I wouldn’t be breaking any laws.

I suspect if I was ticking a box on a car navigation application on my mobile and had an accident and a zealous Police Officer wanted to charge me, it would make an interesting test case. If I was distracted and had an accident, it would be no different to changing the station on my car stereo.

However, if I was entering an incident into an app on my iPhone, even if it was the TomTom car navigation app that would be legal to use on a PND, it may well be that this would fall under the laws pertaining to using a phone. This becomes quite interesting if you consider this in relation to the blog I wrote yesterday where it was being postulated by some that Smartphones will replace dedicated car navigation devices. If one is legal to use while driving and the other isn’t (depending on circumstances) then maybe this is another argument to stick with my TomTom device. With a smartphone it is very hard to prove which app you were using unless you had an app which disabled the functions of the phone, e.g. making it not possible to send a TXT message while driving.

2. There are already applications like WAZE which allow you to be warned of incidents ahead (down here it is mostly used to warn people that there is a cop with a radar ahead, which I’m not that excited about, because I’d rather people weren’t speeding). Given they already exist, I’m interested to know why Traffeek recreated the wheel. Do they have features that Waze doesn’t have?

One of the frustrations I have with Waze is that it really encourages crowd-sourced participation and pretty much any time there is something happening where I would need to participate, for example reporting an incident, confirming an incident still exists, correcting the location of an incident, you are in a position where you can’t safely, or it is illegal to stop the car. I believe this is why many incidents are reported in the incorrect location, because they show the location where the incident was reported, i.e. the location where the car was when you could finally report it.

So if Traffeek has been developed because they feel they can do a better job, fantastic. I’m keen to understand how they can manage the inherent problems with the existing systems, other than through a call center or some form of hands-free control.

These are not criticisms, but genuine questions as I am working with a number of other organizations who also have or wish to develop mobile apps around helping road users avoid incidents, events and congestion, safely.

I’m keen on any and all feedback.

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About Luigi Cappel

Writer for hire, marketing consultant specialising in Location Based Services. Futurist and Public Speaker Auckland, New Zealand
This entry was posted in Car Navigation, GPS Apps, real time traffic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Traffic jam busting app launched by entrepreneur – Manchester Evening News

  1. Hi Luigi,

    Thank you for such a measured and considered article, and indeed we share your concerns here.

    We recognise the huge importance on safety, and it is absolutely our concern that people do not interact with their phone whilst driving. However, and without saying too much, we are already looking at in-car integration. Frankly, according to Forbes Magazine, in-car integration with mobile technologies is predicted to be a new forefront for technologies of all sorts of different shapes and sizes.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewdepaula/2012/05/19/in-four-years-most-cars-will-work-with-smart-phones/

    @Traffeek we embrace this technological challenge and are already looking in to how to make this a possibility in the near future. We are absolutely on the case.

    Another observation and trend that we are aware of is the changing nature of commuting with more and more people adopting car-share schemes either through work or other websites such as http://www.blablacar.com/

    We recognise here that it doesn’t have to be the driver who is involved in traffic reporting; and that’s the point we want everyone to engage with our app. People who get stuck in traffic, whatever the circumstances, have a vested interest to get out of it, or avoid it in the first place. I’m sure we can all relate to that.

    On the matter of WAZE, yes you are right. They (or we rather) are doing pretty much the same thing. In fact we see Waze as our only direct competitor. They have been going since 2007 and they have over 40 million users in their community.

    Personally I think it’s a very polished and engaging app and they have obviously blazed a trail. However, I also think that Waze is that it is trying to do a lot. Traffic alerts, speed cameras and speed traps, fuel prices, map inputs and even Chat! They have introduced the idea of an avatar to make it more engaging and fun to use. All of which is very commendable and adds to the attraction of an app. It’s app however remains a bit fiddly and requires more than agile fingers to contribut information. Let alone whilst driving!

    However, Traffeek is aiming to differentiate itself by not bothering with all that peripheral stuff. When you’re on the road you want to get from A to B with as little fuss and delay as possible. Trafeek is about traffic reports. Nothing else. It has a clear goal of allowing people to interact quickly and with no fuss, help to alert others to traffic as it happens, and avoid wherever possible.
    That is why the interface is designed as. Big butttons, no fuss. 1,2, 3 and done. This simplicity will remain when we include in-car integration.

    We have also given it that personal edge too, where you can track and store the specific journeys you do regularly. Daily Commute, going to the Gym, the annual road-trip etc. Each user then receives notifications either by proximity to an incident report whilst travelling, or by a timed notification, so for example, my daily commute will send me a full report of any incidents occurring on the specific roads I travel on, at a pre-determined time. So at 7.30am, before I set off for work, I know what to expect and where to avoid.

    Our aim is simple, safe and no-nonsense traffic reporting powered by you, me and everyone else.

    Really welcome your comments here today, and the very constructive feedback you’ve provided.

    Very happy to talk further.

    Cheers

    Tim Jones
    Creator and CEO of Traffeek

    Like

    • Luigi Cappel says:

      Hi Tim

      Many thanks for your detailed reply. I’m keen to be in touch offline. In the meantime, one big question which wasn’t clear to me is whether your application is limited to the UK or whether it is global?

      Regards

      Luigi

      Like

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