A prime offender rides the curb in San Francisco. TowIt

One developer’s weapon against lousy drivers and vans blocking the bike lane.

The next time you see a parked car attempting to mate with a curb, as shown above, you can leave a nasty note on its windshield.

Or, if you have the app TowIt, you could snap a photo and (in theory) flag it for a good towin’.

The aggressive app, available in Google and Apple versions, “allows civilians to report selfish or illegal parking and dangerous driving in real time,” say its makers. “TowIt works with municipal governments, local law enforcement, and towing companies to remove the barriers required to make cities effectively fight and deter bad parking and dangerous driving habits.”

The app was developed by Michael McArthur in Toronto, where it’s reportedly caught on among local cyclists. He hopes the geotagged map of parking offenders will be of use to the authorities—which is kind of a weakness, as the app’s effectiveness relies on cops and towers actively monitoring it. Here’s McArthur’s vision, as described to the Toronto Star:

McArthur says he has met with the some of the mayor’s staff, and has also reached out Traffic Services, who have contacted him to discuss the app. [sic] “I am offering the police a free solution, with no cost to them and no cost to the taxpayers, that is just going to make them more efficient, which in turn will save them or make them more money, so I can’t understand why they would say no to such a thing unless they are against innovation.”

Right now, the app seems most useful for shaming lousy parkers online. Most of the reports hail from Toronto, though there are a few in U.S. cities like San Francisco, Houston, and New York, where, hilariously, somebody’s tagged a police van:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town

    New York’s empty storefronts are a dark omen for the future of cities.

  2. Design

    A Step-by-Step Guide for Fixing Badly Planned American Cities

    An excerpt from Jeff Speck’s Walkable City Rules, a step-by-step guide to fixing America’s cities and towns.

  3. vacant store fronts in mining town in Arizona
    Equity

    America’s Worsening Geographic Inequality

    The economic gap between have and have-not places continues to widen.

  4. North Korean soldiers carry the Korean People's Army flag as they walk past residential buildings along Ryomyong Street in Pyongyang.
    Design

    What's Behind North Korea’s Building Boom?

    Kim Jong-un is transforming Pyongyang, the Hermit State’s capital city, into a high-rise-filled “socialist fairyland.”

  5. Passengers line up for a bullet train at a platform in Tokyo Station.
    Transportation

    The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations

    The nation’s famed mastery of rail travel has been aided by some subtle behavioral tricks.