Introduction

Welcome to the ETA Tool, a commute time estimator! The goal of this tool is to add to the conversation around choosing the right speed limits for Calgary’s residential streets. Upon choosing a route, the app shows likely travel time impacts of three different speed scenarios, powered by Google Maps and the City of Calgary’s open data.

Please take a moment and try out some routes you routinely travel – we think you may be surprised that your overall journey stays about the same.

The tool is HERE.

Motivation

Our motivations are based on Vision Zero, where we believe that we should not be content with a traffic system that leads to people being injured or killed.

Cities like New York and Boston have lowered their city speed limits from 30 mph (50 kmph) to 25 mph (40kmph). By doing so, they have noticeably decreased the rates of serious injuries and fatalities while at the same time, minimally impacting the commutes of everyday citizens. This is because during peak hours, traffic rarely reaches the full speed limits due to congestion. And when it isn't peak hours, vehicles are mostly impacted at the start and end of their journey because they would very quickly move onto roads with higher speeds and remain there until the last peg of their journey. From studying these cases, we believe that a similar initiative would make Calgary's roads safer and bring Calgarians closer to Vision Zero.

We realized however, that simply showing math and statistics which supported this decision was not very impactful; instead we chose to build an app which would let us choose a path that we typically drive on, and have the app predict how our commute time changes! This would let citizens like us see how the changes would affect us personally in terms of commute time, and whether that change is a reasonable one to make our roads safer.

Calgary's Hackathon

None of this would have been possible without attending the 2018 Calgary Hackathon. During the Hackathon we developed and presented a rudimentary version of this app, and although we did not win, the City was interested in our app’s potential, and offered to fund us to make a more professional version.

The Hackathon was really fun, and we all enjoyed participating in it. We hope that this app not only helps make roads safer, but also encourages junior developers to make great apps which can be used to make the world a better place.