POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 16, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 7:40 p.m. HST, Jul 9, 2010
You're late for work or a meeting because of traffic. Whydja get stuck in it in the first place? There are mobile apps to get you around traffic snarls and keep you actually mobile.
A local software developer for the U.S. Air Force has created - on his own time - an Android application to help people avoid traffic snarls that he says will work on most cell phones.
Before leaving your home or office, you can check radio or television stations, their websites or online City and County traffic cameras, but what if you forgot and you're already in your vehicle?
Jordan Chang's Hawaii Traffic Cams app adds to the on-the-go, online ways you can get traffic information, if your chosen radio station is failing to give you the details you need.
For the preponderance of Oahuans with mobile devices, there are apps for that.
"Basically, my app addresses the antiquated City and County Traffic Cam website," which Chang speculates has not been upgraded in about a decade. "I took an aging product and improved on it by making the information easier to use and more importantly available on a mobile device."
He has been a software developer for about seven years and enjoyed "flexing (his) new skills in developing software for cell phones."
He has seen other apps for Honolulu traffic, such as Kokua Traffic for the iPhone, which also has a feed on Twitter.com called KTLink.
"That's pretty cool too," though it is a different type of traffic tool that reports on stalls and accidents using text.
Kokua Traffic, Hawaii Traffic Cams and others are "trying to solve the same problems ... in different ways ... that help people make informed decisions," Chang said. Given Hawaii Traffic Cams' pictures and the information in apps such as Kokua Traffic, "it would be so cool if we could merge those projects together into one system," he said.
Both apps are free for users to download.
Kokua Traffic was started by Aryn Nakaoka of Honolulu-based Trinet Solutions and "we did some tidying up," and made sure it met requirements for submission to Apple's iTunes store, said Daniel Leuck, co-founder of Ikayzo, also Honolulu-based. Kokua Traffic uses the Honolulu Police Department's application programming interface that "allows other programs to consume their data."
Ikayzo has created iPhone- and iPad- and Android-compatible apps, and Chang is considering development of an iPhone version of the Hawaii Traffic Cams app.
Yeah, but once you're in the car, you can only use mobile devices with hands-free functionality. It is unlikely you could convince a police officer your iPhone or Android is actually a HAM radio handset, which is exempt from the ban on using mobile devices while driving.
"There are two typical responses," Leuck said.
"One is, 'it's intended for the passenger,'" who can serve as an on-the-fly navigator. The other is that one can review the traffic apps before hitting the road.
|On the Net:
» Android applications: http://is.gd/cR0fb