The City of Edmonton’s new app designed to give safety and traffic alerts for drivers is less than a month old but before its success can even be measured, some app developers from Quebec are saying the price the city paid was far too high.
“First, the design is absolutely horrible,” Nagib Elmansouri said Wednesday. “I think the taxpayer got ripped off.”
Edmonton drivers have been able to use the Edmonton SmartTravel App since Sept. 12 in order to get alerts about everything from speed limit changes, approaching school zones, weather-related hazards and traffic disruptions.
Elmansouri is speaking out about the city’s app because he and four friends came up with an app called Camarad, which is being launched in Alberta’s capital.
He said his decision was based on the large amount of complaints from Edmontonians he’d read about photo-radar traps across the city.
“Your city is very aggressive, so we decided that we can make it available across the country and Edmonton was the first spot where we wanted to implement our application.”
The city’s app cost $250,000 to develop and was paid for by revenues generated from traffic tickets. But the Quebec developers behind their own new crowd-sourcing photo radar app say theirs works better and they were able to make their vision a reality for less than $1,000.
“Small apples and big oranges maybe,” Gerry Shimko with the City of Edmonton’s Department of Traffic Safety said when asked if the Quebec-developed app does some of the same things. “It’s certainly a lot different.”
The city says while the Quebec app may be significantly cheaper, it isn’t nearly as sophisticated as the one being used in Edmonton. They say it not only warns drivers about road issues, but can also extract data from users to determine how effective the app is and where tweaks can be made.
“What we’re trying to do is look at the messaging and verbal warnings and see if there’s a corresponding driver behavioral change,” Shimko added.
He also pointed out the city’s app has won an international award for its design and that while he thinks the city’s app is better, he welcomes the Quebec app’s presence in the city as well.
“What they’re doing is providing a service and trying to keep people from speeding in areas which are obviously idenitified as high-risk because of the enforcement activity,” Shimko said. “So at the end of the day, I think we’re all going to benefit from working together on this.”
Elmansouri suggests the city app is just another example of wasteful government spending, something he says people in Quebec have to put up with as well.
“I think they got ripped off and I think that money could have been used for something else in your city.”
-With files from Kent Morrison
Watch below: On April 26, 2016, Emily Mertz previewed the forthcoming travel app aimed at making Edmonton’s city streets a little safer.