App allows users to report parking offenders
The homepage of TowIt is a map that allows users to plot illegally parked vehicles. (TowIt official website)
Jesse Noseworthy, Special to CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, January 21, 2015 4:38PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 22, 2015 8:20AM EST
Taking a page from John Tory’s zero-tolerance approach toward illegally parked vehicles on Toronto’s streets, a smartphone application is hoping to capitalize on user-submitted data to support the mayor’s traffic initiative.
The application is called TowIt, and it allows users to tag an offending driver by submitting a photograph of the vehicle, along with its location and license plate number. That information is then plotted on the application’s map, which tow-truck companies can also track.
“We want to put Toronto on the map as a leader (of solving traffic congestion),” TowIt co-founder Michael McArthur said. “We know that we have lots of people’s attention.”
The application is currently available exclusively to Android phones, and McArthur said it has roughly 250 users. But he said that the application could have up to three times more if it was made available to Apple users.
McArthur also said that Toronto Police Traffic Services have expressed an interest in meeting with the app’s developers.
“We’re extremely excited to explain what we have to them,” he said, adding he believes that explaining the application in person will be beneficial to its success.
Const. Clinton Stibbe, spokesperson for Traffic Services, said they are currently assessing the application.
“We don’t really know all the ins and outs of it,” he said, adding Traffic Services may get in touch with the developers sometime next week.
The application hopes to eventually grow globally, but McArthur said he’s only tested it as far as Oakville so far.
“My end goal here is to make people realize that their behaviour does impact others,” he said. “I hope that people under why it’s necessary.”