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Mobile App Brings Travel Complaints Directly to Congress

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The front page of the I'm Stuck app asks, "How are you stuck?"

    Wall-to-wall traffic on I-76 making you scream yet again? Now your cries of frustration can go beyond your car, thanks to a mobile app that notifies your local lawmaker of travel delays or infrastructure issues as they happen.

    The free smartphone app, I'm Stuck, for iPhone and Android, connects commuters -- whether traveling by car, bus, train, plane or bike -- directly with their congressman or senator. So any groans about delays, pot holes, unsafe routes, or overcrowded public transit get the government's attention.

    "Complaining in your vehicle about traffic is going to do nothing," said Erik Hansen of the U.S. Travel Association. "But if your member of Congress hears from you, they actually have the power to do something about it."

    The U.S. Travel Association partnered with app creator and infrastructure advocacy group, Building America’s Future, to expand the reach of I'm Stuck, which originally launched in 2013.

    The partnership comes on the heels of Congress' short-term fix to the Highway Trust Fund, which is the main source of funding for roads, bridges and highways in the U.S.

    The fund, which was set to run out of money by the end of August, got an $11 billion injection when Congress scrambled to pass a bill to extend the Highway Trust Fund ahead of their summer recess.

    "The Highway Trust Fund is running on fumes and Congress is running out of time," said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who serves as co-chair of Building America's Future. "Our app gives the American people the ability to send a clear message directly to their member of Congress: act now."

    In three simple steps on the I'm Stuck app, commuters can inform their U.S. representatives and senators about travel problems in their home territories and urge investment in infrastructure.

    App users start by selecting from one of eight thumbnail images to answer the question, "How are you stuck?"

    Once they pick the reason for their delay, I'm Stuck brings up a second page with a pre-loaded message explaining the problem: "I'm stuck on the tarmac waiting to take off. We need to modernize our airport..." There's also an option to upload a photo.

    The third and final step asks the traveler to fill out their contact information so the proper policymakers are notified. A confirmation page lets users know their "report and thousands like it have been sent to Members of Congress."

    "Instead of pounding the steering wheel, just tap the app and contact your member of Congress and you improve the traffic process," Hansen added. "You can actually change your travel experience."


    Contact Alison Burdo at 610.668.5635, alison.burdo@nbcuni.com or follow @NewsBurd on Twitter.