When we were brainstorming, we wanted to build an app that would improve safety. A recent trend is electric scooters. While this form of transportation is incredibly convenient and fun, the scooters are often not parked in reasonable places. Instead, they can be carelessly parked in the way of pedestrian paths. This especially endangers the safety of disabled people who may have difficulty navigating streets blocked with scooters. Our goal is to make the sidewalks safe again.
What it does
The purpose of our app is to promote safe parking for electric scooters offered by brands such as Bird, Lime, and Lyft. It uses the GPS of the device to find the user's current location and then compares the distance of the user to nearby bike racks. We pulled the location of these bike racks from the LA Department of Transportation and organized them in a NoSQL database. For all the bike racks that are within 400 meters to the user, the app will display these locations using the Google Maps API. The app also displays a list of the top five closest bike racks at the bottom of the app along with their distances from the user. The idea is that if the user parks their scooter next to a bike rack, they will be rewarded with a small discount or credit in their account.
Another important aspect of our app is that it collects big data on how the scooter was parked. The data includes information about how many scooters are in good/bad spots, how many scooters were parked in a certain location, etc. Using this data, we can plan where new bike racks should be placed or added. This could also impact where new buildings are located.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
After we decided on the Scoot 'n Save idea, one challenge was learning how to use the Department of Transportation’s database and API.
We initially also had a hard time delegating the work because we didn't plan out what needed to be done. Some of us would not have tasks because it would overlap other people's work. However, as we continued, our vision became clearer and we delegated better (the designs, the conversion to a mobile app, etc.)
We also struggled with the weak WiFi at the venue; eventually, we decided to return to the dorms where there was stronger WiFi. This allowed us to be more productive and not sit around waiting for stuff to load.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of figuring out the Google Maps API and displaying a map with the rack locations. We are also proud of corresponding the GPS location of the user to their location on a map and finding bike racks nearby.
We are proud of making a functional website and being able to convert this website into a mobile app.
What we learned
It was a great learning experience to work with the LA Department of Transportation Database’s API and using it in our code.
We were also able to learn more about the importance of safe parking. It's easy to forget that parking Birds in a convenient place for the user may cause significant difficulty for other people.
What's next for Scoot 'n Save
Our next step would be to partner with businesses such as Lime and Bird to integrate into their applications. Ideally, we would like to get the location of the scooter as opposed to the location from the user’s device. This would improve accuracy and the app would reach a larger audience.