Brilliant Mind Behind: Trapster
Recently, BoldRide reviewed the top apps for car lovers and Trapster made it into the top 5. This unique app enables drivers to share information with one another, including finding speed traps and hazards. While these warnings of potential peril could be anything from tire-demolishing potholes to construction crews, the coolest use of Trapster is when people upload police radar/laser speed traps. Forget flashing your high beams; just blow up the cop’s spot on Trapster. We sat down with Trapster's Product Manager Sean Farrell to get more background on how this app works and the inspiration behind it. BoldRide: What was the inspiration behind Trapster? Farrell: Trapster launched in 2004, to help drivers share information with fellow drivers. We believe Trapster was the natural evolution for driver information sharing: early drivers would communicate via flashing headlights, waving, or honking horns. As technology progressed, citizen-band radios and walkie-talkies became more widely used. To that end, we thought about building our own device. However, the widespread adoption of "smart phones" made this irrelevant. Suddenly, drivers were carrying GPS-enabled smartphones – all we had to do was create an app. After launching Trapster, we observed a direct correlation between smartphone growth and the Trapster user base. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UKU0Q184vgA We first used a website to identify the locations at which police most often enforced traffic regulations. We would mark locations with POI icons, called "traps." After focusing traffic, we set our sites on enforcement cameras. Today, Trapster users help us identify the location of all sorts of enforcement zones and road hazards – everything from school zones to road kill. How are you currently working with Police forces? Though we work with several police agencies, we have the closest relationship with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office in Austin, Texas. Several years ago, Team Trapster met the entire department and provided an unprecedented level of access to Trapster. Now, Travis County officials use our website to enter enforcement locations, as well as other information such as dangerous intersections, road closures, accidents and traffic jams. We have even worked with fire departments here in California – and as a result of several meetings, we have added a "Brush Fire" hazard, in order to alert our users of the very serious hazards these present. We are always listening to our users through our social media channels - if you know of a police agency or other authority that is interested in working with us, please send them our way! Trapster also warns of road hazards and other dangers, how has it made our roads safer? Trapster facilitates information sharing among divers, and we believe that knowing the location of potentially unsafe road conditions -- such as construction zones, accidents, and school zones – improves the driving experience for our users
Trapster also features an on-screen speedometer and even displays the speed limit of the road you are driving on, with visual/audio notifications of speed limit changes.
How does the trapster.com TrapMap work?
Well, I could get very technical and talk about the voluminous lines of code, geocoding, servers and other super nerdy stuff, but that is not what drivers want to know about. Drivers want to know the location of potential road hazards. And just like our mobile app, our web TrapMap gives users the ability to locate, report, and validate the location of speed traps and road hazards.
Our TrapMap also offers some interactive features, such as a leaderboard based on users’ “Karma Score.” Every Trapster user earns “Karma Points” – which are awarded when other users validate reported locations.
Visitors can also get directions, which include trap and hazard locations - all the way down to the street level view.
Download Trapster here