Photo radar app alerting Red Deer drivers

City data made easily accessible

A new app is reminding Red Deer drivers to hit the brakes before they are stuck with speeding tickets, or worse.

Benjamin Lavin, a University of Alberta computing student, said he originally developed the app for Edmonton but people started requesting other Alberta cities be included.

The free app available at — edmontonphotoradar.com — has been in use by Edmonton drivers since September. But in the last few weeks it’s been used in Calgary, Canmore, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Fort Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, St. Albert and Red Deer.

“What it does is it gets the photo radar and red light camera locations from various city websites and plots all those on a map for you. As you are driving around, if you come up to a photo radar or red light camera, the app gives you a nice loud, audible alert just letting you know to double check your speed to make sure you’re driving within the speed limit,” Lavin said on Tuesday.

The app is available for both iPhone and Android users.

He said so far the app has about 44,000 users, including a few hundred in Red Deer.

“I’m getting emails everyday from people saying they really appreciate it and it saves them from a ticket here and there. Feedback has been really positive so far.”

Similar apps exist, but they rely on data from users instead of pulling the information directly from city websites to make it easily accessible to drivers, he said.

“All the different cities put this information out online, but I think it’s rare that someone will go there and check it out before they go on their morning commute each day.

“In the future what I’m planning to do is a mix of those two systems where it’s primarily the data I have access to online, but additionally users can either confirm that certain photo radars are there, or add one that’s missing.”

Lavin also wants to allow users to eventually customize the app. Some may not want to be reminded of a permanent camera they pass every day, or maybe they want the alert to come on at a certain distance from the camera.

He said the app started out as a personal challenge to put the City of Edmonton’s photo radar information into a useful format for people. When he posted information to get feedback on his app it was a instant hit.

“I haven’t seen any other apps that are trying to access the same data that I am. I’m actually hoping I can continue to expand into other provinces.”

He said it’s a free app to make it accessible to more people. Online donations are welcome and so is feedback.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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