cycling road users feedback form

FROM: Jane DT

What NEED does this meet?
Cyclist frustrations of 'that's a really irritating pole in the middle of the cycle path' and 'that cycle path is useless without double yellow lines', 'that's a really scary stretch as a cyclist' are all unlikely to have most cyclists calling up the local council complaints.

Making it easy allows greater numbers of cyclists to comment, and in doing gives a better picture of the problem spots, and problem types. It also gives opportunity for constructive feedback and suggestions.

What is the APPROACH?
User says WHERE the problem is, and WHAT the problem/suggestion is.

The site however is only the data-collector: someone needs to want to see the data. Hopefully this would be the local authority responsible for the roads, and then they would act accordingly. Failing that the cycle campaigning groups. Or perhaps preferably: both.

Using intersections, or road and house numbers, combined with existing street map engines would enable the automatic collation of nearby complaints: this is an important function in making the data easily accessible to those who have to deal with it.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
As said above, many people might fill in a well-sign posted website and not call the council.

Hopefully: results in terms of the worst offending places dealt with, AND better knowledge and expertise in councils when they design future road use.

What is the COMPETITION?
If there are: they need better advertising.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Hopefully similar engines exist,and need only tweaking to fit.

November 2, 2003 in Perhaps Government Remit?, Transport, User Created Content | Permalink | Comments (1)

eHitching

FROM: Chris Ewels

What NEED does this meet?
Connecting potential passengers and drivers - enabling car pooling and reducing transport costs.

What is the APPROACH?
It's a bit like eBay. Drivers and potential passengers register. You type in your proposed journey (or text it in), possibly like 'lastminute.com' you can enter your flexibility in start/arrive time and location. Then there's a range of choices. Initially it could link passengers and drivers 'for free' - using route finder info it could also link passengers who may only want a part of the route being driven, i.e. they needn't have the same start and end destination. Could also propose a 'fee' the passenger pays the driver based on the mileage, pitched so the cost would be roughly half that of coach travel. Alternatively the eBay approach could be used and the driver could post up the voyage with minimum bid rate and passengers could 'bid' to travel in that vehicle. All financial transaction would (initially) have to be done between driver and passenger as logistics of organising website to handle this would be nasty. Otherwise it could just be a free service that connects folks.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
It could kickstart hitchhiking once again. There's an added level of security over conventional hitchhiking since both passenger and driver have to register at the site so there's at least one level of check possible if anything happens and, for example, the police need to be contacted. Currently lorries aren't normally allowed to pick up hitchers for insurance reasons - if there's way that firms can make money through an easily managed scheme such as this then maybe this will encourage them to change such regulations. If eBay is anything to go by, people may even start running 'private' services between places if they can get the passengers and an unofficial needs-based private 'public transport' system is born!

What is the COMPETITION?
Never heard of this working yet. It'd need good publicity to encourage take-up, maybe getting agreement from national coach etc carriers to enter their data (so if there's no private car low cost bid available, the passenger can at least be offered a more expensive coach or train option - could bring more passengers to the coach companies).

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Depends on the level of complexity built into it. Maybe eBay could be encouraged to do this for you? If it ever really took off and payment was exchanged between driver and passenger via the site then the site could cover costs with a 2% surcharge or similar.

November 2, 2003 in Matching System, Reputation Systems, Transport | Permalink | Comments (24)

Share Your Car

FROM: Marie Griffiths

What NEED does this meet?
Global warming is a threat to us all, much of the CO2 gases are emitted from cars. People spend hours in traffic jams and thousands of people are killed on the road each year.

What is the APPROACH?
I registered the domain www.shareyourcar.org during the petrol blockage. The idea is to date match people who are going your way. I am a web designer so I thought that this would not take to long to do. I have been busy with work up till now but now find myself unemployed. I have set up two internet businesses www.kittens.co.uk and www.holidayreport.co.uk. But they haven't taken off as much as I had hoped. I do have the user management and location data though.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
With Car Sharing, you reduce the pollution, you also reduce trafffic, you also reduce accidents, you also have more awake drivers, again less accidents. I already carshare myself with 3 people.

What is the COMPETITION?
http://www.studentzone.org.uk has the same idea but is focused at students only.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
I would need a commerical licence for a database, Web hosting and a budget for my time to work on this. I estimate £40,000 over 5 years part time. I might need a tie in with someone like multimap as well.

October 31, 2003 in Connecting People, Environmental, Matching System, Transport | Permalink | Comments (23)

mobile phone location car sharing

FROM: David Vanes

What NEED does this meet?
This would make car sharing much more dynamic and feasable. This would have environmental benifits It could be used commercially by a combination of bus / taxi /train companies to link transport.

What is the APPROACH?
most car sharing is "static" you find a friend on a web site and you are stuck to the times. Routes may not be available. Here we use mobile phone location to identify the users position and text messages of the destination (post code?) to identify the needed tranportation. Users are registered to a web site so the system is secure. Users requesting lifts can be matched dynamically to the movement of users offering transport. So the lift share you get in the morning can be separate to the lift share in the evening - and lift shares from day to day can be at various times and with different people. This can be used comercially to share taxis and utilize busses. Easiest to explain with the dispersal of a plane load of people from an airport. Users are all in one place and can be contacted by txt msg. The are directed to busses which disperse along major routes. Taxis can "rendevous" with the busses to take smaller groups off at strategic road junctions. Everyone gets door to door service. Costs are shared, less road use, user costs are cheaper, very dynamic,fast and efficient. Use blue tooth technology to pay and make the system cashless. It's a bit like using that lift thumbing device used in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Less cars on the road Less pollution Ability of non drivers OAPs to get to places not served by public transport. Public transport becomes cheaper and more efficient as it uses more direct routes. You can use special TRUSTED systems to make shared school runs and solve a major traffic problem (30% of traffic in the morning).

What is the COMPETITION?
There are many patents out there with user location, guiding to public transport, avoiding traffic congestion etc. Nobody yet has applied mobile phone location (only just becoming available in europe) to makeing shared transport possible.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Mobile phone companies are beginning to offer an application programming interface for mobile location.
There are the beginings of pay by mobile phone for commercial users. I am not an application programmer so I have no idea how it would be built. I do know bus companies are building Buss tracking systems Road transport (especially security vans) have tracking and delivery systems. Geo plan data is available with many web sites offing route planning
I think it may be a case of putting it together rather than inventing the wheel.

October 31, 2003 in Connecting People, Environmental, Matching System, Reputation Systems, SMS, Transport | Permalink | Comments (8)

Good driver / bad driver

FROM: Mark West

What NEED does this meet?
A web site for people to enter the number plate of a driver who nearly caused them to crash that morning, or was driving stupidly or right up their bumper on the way to work... or alternatively a driver who was especially nice and let them pull out or go first. People can then look up their own number plate and see if other people think they're a good or bad driver, hopefully making them think about driving safer if they find that lots of people have submitted them as being bad!

What is the APPROACH?
A simple web site with a database of number plates, number of positive votes and number of negative votes. The user just enters the number plate, and clicks 'bad' or 'good'. No email or login is needed, but an IP check ensures that no one can vote for a particular driver more than once.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
If you look up your own number plate and find lots of 'bad driver' votes and no 'good driver' ones it should make you really think about driving better. If you find that people say you're good, it'll make you feel good! It also gives people who have had a run in with a bad driver a chance to feel like they've done something about it.

What is the COMPETITION?
I don't know of any...

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Cheap and easy - just need a server with a big enough database behind it.

October 31, 2003 in Reputation Systems, Transport, User Created Content | Permalink | Comments (15)

Smart Directions

FROM: benjymous

What NEED does this meet?
Everybody who's had to rely on online map/directions sites know that often they create utterly useless directions such as "at the roundabout turn onto the A123", when there are two A123 exits or "on the B1234 take a left turn onto Fox Street" (so you end up driving slowly peering at every street sign hoping it'll be your turn)

What is the APPROACH?
Instead, use directions written by people. You know how to get from the motorway to your street, so you can write directions that a human can follow

"At the roundabout take the 3rd exit (there's a chipshop just before it) onto the A123 You should pass a big mobile phone warehouse then go under a railway bridge soon after the bridge, opposite the post office, take a left turn onto fox street"

Once the database is filled up with snippets of directions, the code would be able to string these together into longer journeys (and of course there'd be some kind of moderation system to make sure directions make sense)

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Nobody likes getting lost in a town they don't know, and often when we rely on machine-generated directions they can just get us more and more lost

What is the COMPETITION?
All the other mapping services I know of just let a computer generate the route and give a disclaimer that you should check it for validity yourself (which is fine if you know the town your driving in)

Giving nicely written understanable directions would make everyone's lives easier

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
I biggest hurdle would be actually joining the snippets of directions together into single routes. Access to existing map databases (or postcode/location databases) would be beneficial

October 31, 2003 in Geographic, Transport, User Created Content | Permalink | Comments (2)

Stolen Car Search

FROM: Iain Row

What NEED does this meet?
Stolen car information is recorded on the Police National Computer - let's build a website that makes that very same information publicly available, for free. It's such a simple idea, and yet it would be useful to millions of people!

The benefits work both ways - if you're looking to buy a car and it is flagged as stolen, you could easily report where the car can be found.

What is the APPROACH?
I don't know why the police haven't done this before now, but I'm guessing that it's down to a lack of manpower, know-how and coordination.

The key is probably lobbying at a government level to encourage the police to share this information, or rather, a subset of the information (to avoid privacy concerns). We get the info from them, and then the website makes simple requests to find out the status of a given registration.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
'Caveat Emptor' (let the buyer beware) is inshrined in UK law, so buyers have no comeback if they inadvertently buy a stolen vehicle. Making the information publicly searchable will help people to make an informed decision, make the trade in stolen cars more difficult, and may even help people recover their stolen property.

What is the COMPETITION?
Some companies (HPI, Carwatch) charge for running a full check, not just on whether it's stolen, but if it's been an insurance write-off, or clocked, or has outstanding finance. That's fine - they offer a useful, comprehensive service and guarantee their results.

However a simple, free search of the police's records is a good place to start and, at zero cost to the user, will surely be popular.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
It depends what is needed to get the information out of the police's computer. If it is stored in a proprietory format, some specialised coding will be required to expose it to the web page. Perhaps a web service could be implemented to ensure that only certain info can be extracted; we, via the website, provide it with a registration number, and it responds with either 'true' or 'false'.

Actually creating the public-facing site would be trivial.

I would estimate that the cost would fall somewhere between £10,000 and £50,000 - at the lower end if the data can be easily extracted, and at the higher end if hardcore programming is required to get at the data.

October 30, 2003 in Crime, Transport, User Created Content | Permalink | Comments (17)