TrapTap kicks speeding tickets to the curb

by Derek Gagnon

It’s Saturday afternoon, and you’re out for a ride in that sick whip of a minivan your parents let you have. You’re travelling at a comfortable pace, but what feels like a comfortable pace for you has now accidentally gotten up to 60 kilometres an hour in a 50 kilometre an hour zone. Now instead of going the posted limit, you’re speeding. Unbeknownst to you as well, there’s a photo radar van up ahead. It’s done a good job of blending in, as good as a Dodge Grand Caravan can, and you don’t see it you’re going to get a ticket, which will really hurt your wallet bec-

Your TrapTap device is flashing green to indicate that you’re speeding. You tap it and slow down. The device lights up blue almost as soon as you do this, indicating the photo radar van ahead. You tap the device again and proceed to pass by the van at a legal pace. No ticket for you, and it’s thanks to TrapTap.

What is TrapTap?
TrapTap came into being less than a year ago, an idea spawned by a couple of entrepreneurs getting together for some adult beverages.
“Back in November of 2015, I was out for drinks with one of my co-founders, Dustin Refvik, brainstorming ideas,” said TrapTap co-founder Bryce North. “To me, speeding tickets have always been an issue. I get tons ever year, and I always wondered if there was a way to make my Fitbit vibrate on my wrist in order to remind me where these speed traps are.”

Dustin suggested that they create something to go on the dashboard that sends signals to the driver. With an idea in hand, in January of 2016 they set out on creating what would become TrapTap. They teamed up with local engineers Gord Parke and Adam Tsouras. Development for their Kickstarter campaign started in February in order to campaign and raise funds.

“We made a video and a campaign page, and launched that in March. In 60 days we had over half a million dollars in pre-sales to make this project come to life.”

An 8 Billion Dollar Industry
Each year in North America, 8 billion dollars is spent on speeding tickets. That’s a lot of money that could be spent happily elsewhere.

How TrapTap works
“It’s an oversized Oreo cookie that sits on your dash, and blinks different colours for different speed traps,” said Bryce. “Right out of the box, it comes pre-mapped with every red light camera, school zone and speed limit in 63 countries.”

The TrapTap device flashes red if you come in proximity to a red light camera, yellow if you’re approaching a school zone, and green if you’re over the speed limit and blue for police and mobile radar units (camera vans). Simply connect your device to the TrapTap app, set your parameters and you’re ready to hit the road.

Totally Legal
Unlike radar detectors and jammers, which are illegal, TrapTap uses a different kind of technology to alert its users: people.

“What makes TrapTap unique is the crowdsourcing component,” said Bryce. “We’re able to tell the location of any cop with a radar gun, mobile radar trap or road hazard is by the use of our community and users. If you see a radar trap, and your device doesn’t light up (meaning you’re the first to spot it), you tap your TrapTap device twice, which send a single to the cloud and informs the other users of what lies ahead.”

TrapTap’s first 5,000 units will start being shipped out in late August, and continue on through September as the company honours its pre-sale commitments, with an additional 10,000 units ready to go by the end of 2016.

“One thing I’m quite proud of is that we’ve conceptualized, built, tested, funded and delivered TrapTap in under eight months,” said Bryce.

State of the City: Winnipeg Transit is on the Move

by His Worship Brian Bowman, Mayor of Winnipeg

Welcome back to another month of SmartBiz, Winnipeg! Last month I talked about tourism in our city, and this month I’d like to talk about rapid transit – something that will help support Winnipeg’s tourism, as well as benefit our residents tremendously as we grow towards one million people strong.

At the beginning of June, Winnipeg hosted many different Mayors from cities, big and small, from across Canada at the Big City Mayors Caucus meeting and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting and trade show.

It was interesting to speak with Mayors visiting from cities with one million people or more. In their cities, rapid transit is already well established and an important part of their transportation infrastructure. Cities like Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto all have some form of rapid transit, and some have more than just one.

For me, it is clear Winnipeg requires a rapid transit system, and the time to build that system for the future is now, before we reach one million people.

We need to make strategic investments in infrastructure based on future demands, not the demands of today. This is certainly not a new or novel strategy. All infrastructure investments we make need to meet current demands but also prepare us for future pressures arising from a growing city.

I believe Winnipeg needs to be part of the conversations other big cities are having, and that we need to keep our city moving forward. We simply cannot continue with previous City Councils’ track records of delaying decision making and forcing difficult decisions onto subsequent Councils.

Several years ago, City Council decided on bus rapid transit as the optimal rapid transit system for Winnipeg. In June, Council had a difficult decision to make with respect to land acquisition, and I expect there will be other difficult decisions to be made in this regard. However, I continue to believe in moving forward with a bus rapid transit system. But, like any project, I don’t believe in it at any and all cost. We need to monitor its progress closely.

This is why I was very encouraged to learn about significant cost savings identified for the second phase of the Southwest Rapid Transitway. Cost savings of $120 million have been identified for this project, and it is currently on-track and on-time with construction scheduled to start later this year.

It is unfortunate that some councillors want to move us backward and revisit the debate over what type of rapid transit system is best for Winnipeg. Some have even recommended the City cancel bus rapid transit in favour of a light rail system at anywhere from 2.5 to 50 times the cost of bus rapid transit. I don’t believe that is a cost or a delay the City can endure at this time, and do not feel we should be throwing away all of the money already invested in years of planning and engineering work. Through careful planning, however, investments being made today in bus rapid transit infrastructure can be converted to light rail in the future if required.

The second phase of bus rapid transit represents one of the largest capital projects in the City’s history. For this project, we have secured $365 million dollars from our provincial and federal partners. Now is not the time to walk away from $365 million in federal and provincial commitments, and to walk away from a project we need to build today to make our city better tomorrow.

I also do not want to go back to the days of Council fighting over what rapid transit system they want. I certainly appreciate for many councillors and many Winnipeggers, bus rapid transit continues to be a controversial issue. But I do not want to move our city backwards. I want to continue moving us forward and to build our city for the future.

As we get set to begin construction on the second phase of rapid transit, we need to begin examining the next best route. The City of Winnipeg’s Transportation Plan identifies the eastern corridor as the next priority for rapid transit, and work is currently underway to examine and develop the conceptual design as well as the broad implementation strategy for the next rapid transit route that would link Transcona to the downtown.

I believe Winnipeg’s future is bright. And, together, we can build a city we can all be proud of. A modern and efficient rapid transit system plays an integral role in supporting a city that is growing to one million people strong.

CARSTAR shines brightly in Manitoba

CARSTAR has been operating in Manitoba since 1998, under the guidance of co-owners Dan Jonsson and Skye Grexton, and since its inception has grown to five locations. There are four in Winnipeg, and one in Stonewall.

“It started off as Sovereign Coach Works on Saskatchewan Avenue and then CARSTAR Inkster and CARSTAR Henderson were added to the mix,” said Skye. With continued growth, two years ago, CARSTAR Chevrier and CARSTAR Stonewall were added.

All CARSTAR locations in Manitoba provide collision and glass service, while the CARSTAR Fife location also offers mechanical repair.

CARSTAR Manitoba
“We love working in Manitoba. Manitoba Public insurance is incredibly fair to deal with, so we appreciate our insurance partners as well as our business partners. We find an ease working here in Manitoba.”

Skye says that because CARSTAR is a larger group of businesses, it makes dealing with insurance companies that much easier. These affiliations have given CARSTAR the insight they need to know in order to stay relevant in today’s market.

Express Claims
“Something that we do, that nobody else does, is called ‘Express Claims,’” said Skye. “If you phone your claim in, and you’re too busy to make your Autopac appointment, we’ll actually take it to Autopac for you. We make it really easy for you: we pick up your car, we run it to Autopac, bring it back here and repair it and then you’re done. We try to alleviate you of the stress of the MPI claim.”

“Some people are nervous driving into MPI, so some people really love that service.”

Hiring Manitobans
“We hire apprentices all the time. We hire a certain type of person and then we train them. We hire 18, 19 20-year-olds and watch them grow with our company.”

Skye notes CARSTAR Henderson’s Darryl Willard as a prime example of the type of person CARSTAR hires. Darryl has long held an interest in auto mechanics, dating back to his high school days in Selkirk.

“I went to the Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School (the Comp), and I took power mechanics. I’ve been working on cars since I could walk, pretty much. I just wanted to find a career that I loved. It wasn’t mechanics, apparently, because I got a job at a body shop.”

“When I was in my Level 1 apprenticeship program with Red River College, I met a guy who worked for CARSTAR. He called me out of the blue and asked if I was looking for work. I wasn’t actively looking, but any time a job comes up, I’m all ears. I set up an interview with Skye, we seemed to click well, she hired me on here and I haven’t looked back since.”

“When I started as an apprentice, it was basically doing small bumper jobs, keeping the shop clean, keeping the booth clean, washing cars and detailing. All of that kind of stuff. That was in 2010.”
Since then, through hard work and placing value in the company, Darryl has advanced to the role of production manager, managing the shop at CARSTAR Henderson.

“Eventually I progressed through all my levels. We set up a plan and each time I reached a goal, we’d set a new one. The next goal is ownership. To run a location completely, both front and back and then hopefully buying into the company and buying shares. Hopefully that happens within the next five years.”

“CARSTAR have been great, with their push, getting me through school and making sure I was maturing well as a technician. We’re treated more like family here, rather than just employees, which is great.”

For more info on CARSTAR, be sure to check out their ad on page 2 of the August issue, or visit them online at carstar.ca/manitoba/.