Startup Smartrek aims to give you a smoother commute
The founders of Metropia have launched Smartrek a traffic demand management app that can predict vehicular traffic flows using real-time traffic data and predictive algorithm to provide travelers with the clearest routes and future departure times to help alleviate traffic congestion and pollution citywide. Users of the apps can earn credit for items by choosing the least congested time to purchase or donate to a charity. Smartrek is available in Los Angeles, Phoenix, El Paso and Austin and plans to launch in four more cities by the end of 2013.
In terms of funding, Smartrek has secured $1 million in initial private financing and awarded several related projects totaling $2.5 million after just one year of inception.
I spoke with Steve Delgado, co-founder of Smartrek about developing this app to help commuters.
Tell me about Smartrek. How did you come up with this technology?
The Smartrek idea was born at the Universal Studios theme park. Smartrek inventor (and co-founder) Dr. Yi-Chang Chiu observed the park’s express ticketing system for popular rides, which let more people move faster through the line by timing when each person arrived, and pacing the rate they showed up to the ride. Dr. Chiu thought, “this is the pacing we need on freeways and highways to maximize system efficiency.”
Who is your ideal market?
Any city with traffic congestion problems that are negatively impacting air quality, commercial transportation, economic development, or quality of life of residents, and with drivers and businesses that care enough about traffic congestion to help solve the problem.
What are some of the biggest benefits of Smartrek?
Cities get a construction-free solution to traffic congestion problems; local businesses get more customers by attracting people who care about helping reduce traffic congestion; and drivers using Smartrek get the best prediction times for their travel, along with the clearest routes for the times they need to travel. They also can earn rewards points for travelling routes with the least congestion during off-peak hours.
I understand you won Startup Weekend Tucson 2012, how has that win helped you grow Smartrek?
Startup Tucson was one resource in the overall positive entrepreneurial environment that’s active in the area. Partnerships with the Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI) and Tech Transfer Arizona have also lead to other connections and partnerships that have collectively help prepare Smartrek for market. It would have been very difficult to do this on our own without this kind of business support.
Cities have responded very positively when they are shown what Smartrek has to offer, which is a non-construction, potential technical solution to their seemingly insurmountable traffic congestion woes.
What do you see for the future of Smartrek?
We see Smartrek helping commuter and commercial drivers coordinate their travels and alleviating traffic congestion in cities all over the globe. Smartrek-powered cities have increased the efficiency of their transportation systems, and now they have an economic development and commerce advantage over cities that still have congestion issues. Smartrek cities also use less energy and enjoy higher air quality because they have worked to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic congestion and its associated detriments.
How can we purchase this app?
The Smartrek mobile app will be available in Phoenix and Los Angeles by November and in four additional cities by the end of 2013. The app will be available in both Google Play and iTunes app stores. If you would like to vote for your city and be notified when Smartrek is available in your city, you can do so here.
Photos provided by Smartrek.