LIMA – Lima’s roads, the second worst in any Latin American city, are set to improve thanks to an app that allows people to report driving offences in real time.
There are more than two million vehicles on the streets of Peru’s capital, which is only behind Bogota for the worst traffic in Latino cities.
Peruvian computer engineer Alonso Valentin has created a mobile phone application to register the more than one million infractions that take place in the city every year.
He said he came up with the idea in 2017 when he was pushing his daughter in a pram down a street in the district of La Molina and could not use a ramp because it was blocked by a badly parked car.
The incident inspired him to create Ojo Vial (Road Eye), which allows people to report traffic offences in real time.
Valentin told Efe that the technology gives the public the ability to send photographic or video evidence directly to the local authority along with the vehicle’s information.
“It does not matter if they do not know precisely what the infraction is because the application has icons to make identification simple,” he said.
The municipal authority receives citizen complaints on its computer servers and a team of inspectors can validate the report and issue a fine if appropriate.
Depending on the infraction, size of the vehicle and the district where it was committed, fines vary from $130 to $1,300.
Ojo Vial, which has more than 1,500 downloads, has been used in the districts of San Borja and San Miguel.
It has a system to prevent fake claims, which forces any photographs used to be taken exclusively within the app and also records the GPS location of the phone at the time.
A team of engineers, Paul Izquierdo, Alonso Valentin, Percy Ore and Steve Izquierdo, worked on the project, which was recognized in 2018 by the StartUp Peru government innovation contest.
The technology was also a finalist in the Open Innovation Contest by Spain’s NTT Data group and the International Pitch Competition in Uruguay.
Valentin said that more important than recognition is for Ojo Vial to help improve Lima, a city with more than 9.5 million inhabitants.
Creators also want the app to be accepted by the transit division of the National Police of Peru.
“What we are looking for is to improve this city, which is more chaotic every day, and we want people to get involved in the problem,” Valentin added.
He encouraged residents to collaborate by reporting infringements and added: “Let’s be part of the solution.”
There are thousands of vehicles on the roads of the San Miguel district, which includes educational centers, companies and a large shopping center and is also a transit route to other areas.
District mayor Juan Jose Guevara told Efe that residents register around 600 traffic complaints a month.
“The majority of complaints are for badly parked or abandoned vehicles,” he added.
Inspectors in the area receive complaints from the app and are then sent to the location to investigate and apply sanctions when necessary.