ODOT’s new safe driving competition will use app that locks phone screen while driving

The app shows this screen when a car is in motion.

At this point the State of Oregon seems willing to try anything to change our dangerous culture of distracted driving.

To take a bite out of an alarming rise in traffic deaths last year — the 495 people who died was a 58 percent rise from 2013 — the Oregon Department of Transportation convened a task force and purchased unmarked patrol cars, published a report on the “epidemic”, and most recently the legislature acted to tighten a loophole in our existing distracted driving law.

Their latest effort will rely on friendly competition. Drive Healthy is the name of an initiative announced today that will pit individuals and organizations against each other to see who can be the safest driver. Similar to the Bike Commute Challenge, people will sign up online and have their results tracked via the Livesaver app and results will be posted on a public leaderboard. Once downloaded, the app runs in the background and automatically locks your phone when you drive (see screenshot at right). The fewer times you unlock the phone, the more points you get. The only functions available while driving are “Emergency Call” and “Passenger Unlock”.

Here’s more from ODOT and the DriveHealthy.org website:

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Portland businesses reward riders through new ‘Biko’ smartphone app

On Monday, Portlanders will be able to use a new mobile app that will make cycling even sweeter. Biko launched two years ago in Bogota, Colombia and has since spread to Medellin, Vancouver (Canada) and Mexico City. On Monday it will launch in the United States and Portland is one of the first five cities to get it (Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles are the others).

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Gamification and ‘ubiquitous mobility’: Inside Portland’s $50 million ‘Smart City’ grant pitch

mobile girls

The city’s plan includes a “Marketplace” mobile app that would let you plan and buy trips by every mode.
(Photo: M.Andersen)

Portland is one of 77 cities around the country that have put in for a one-time federal ‘Smart City’ grant that’s looking to promote big ideas about urban mobility.

An award is a long shot — only one city will get the $50 million prize — but the city’s application (which wraps together a wide variety of concepts for improving and integrating digital transportation data) is an education in itself, offering various details about the city’s vision that we haven’t seen publicly until now.

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State’s ORcycle app is now a one-stop shop for reporting road safety issues

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
orcycle screenshot

A screenshot from the
ORcycle app.

If you run into a bike safety problem in Oregon and own a smartphone, you no longer need to know who to complain to.

The ORcycle mobile app, a partnership between the Oregon Department of Transportation and Portland State University, has just been hooked up directly to the state’s “Ask ODOT” hotline, which has pledged to forward all reports it receives about bike safety issues to the appropriate local agency — or to its own team, if the road is owned by ODOT.

It’s a huge leap for the project, which has existed in demo form for a year but has been little-used because any reports were stashed for weeks or months under PSU’s supervision rather than piped directly to ODOT, let alone forwarded to other agencies.

Now, however, the free app has been integrated directly into the state agency’s operations.

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Wilsonville company promises ‘perfect shifting’ from phone app and hardware combo

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OTTO Photo Shoot Freddy

The smartphone camera uses the targets on the
gauges to create 3-D models of your gearing.
(Photos courtesy OTTO DesignWorks)

The rising tide of products that combine physical objects with mobile apps has come to do-it-yourself bike maintenance.

OTTO DesignWorks, a startup based a few miles south of Portland in Wilsonville, says its first product will offer “perfect shifting in under five minutes” for people with Shimano and SRAM 9-, 10- and 11-speed gear cassettes.

As the video below shows, the company sells gauges that can be attached to a cassette and derailleur. Its free mobile app then uses a smartphone camera and photogrammatry — the mathematically intensive process of turning images into three-dimensional modeling — to diagnose the situation and walk someone through the tuning process.

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Bike-to-transit mobile trip planner launches in Portland

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nimbler screenshots

A free app that uses the open-source software behind TriMet’s much-heralded Trip Planner has just brought multimodal trip planning to Portland iPhones.

Nimbler, a California-based startup that already has similar apps in place for San Francisco and Washington DC, combines public transit schedules, bike routes and (in other cities) bike share station info to make it easy to combine bike and transit trips.

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Rent a bike near you with Spinlister’s new iPhone app

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Bikes listed in Spinlister’s mobile app.

A year-old service that lets you rent bikes from ordinary people has new ownership, a new iPhone app and quite a few bikes for rent in Portland.

For locals, the best thing about this service is that it’s an easy way to track down the sort of bike (or bike accessory) that you might need occasionally. For example, here in town you can find a bakfiets cargo bike for $25 a day, a tallbike for $15 a day, a big bike trailer for $18 a day, a folding bike for $11 a day, a tandem for $25 a day, a two-bike hold-up rack for $25 a day and a Burley tag-a-long for $20 a day.

It’s obviously of potential use to tourists, too.

The nice thing about Spinlister’s iPhone app is that it autodetects your location, making it easier to locate the nearest bike or input the location of one you’re preparing to list for rental to others. The startup promises an Android app to match in “fall 2013.”

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Forthcoming mobile app helps plan ‘bike + transit’ trips

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A sample Nimbler trip in San Francisco.
(Images courtesy Nimbler.)

A new, free iPhone app that lets you plan crosstown trips that combine transit, personal bicycle and bikeshare is preparing to launch in Portland, its creator says.

The startup, Nimbler, launched its first app in the Bay Area last year and plans to add Washington D.C. in early July.

“Portland is next on our list because of the strong bicycling and transit community there and the commitment of Portland and Oregon to open data,” said CEO John Canfield, who describes himself as a “transit rider and occasional recreational bicyclist.” “But we do not yet have a timeframe.”

If multimodal trip planning software sounds familiar, it should: Nimbler is actually built using the open-source software developed primarily by TriMet two years ago as part of its web-based multimodal trip planner.

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