With real time traffic updates, Bangalore based happypaths wants to make commuting easier

I love to have my hands on cars and bikes, however, my penchant for cars have been decreasing because of chaotic Delhi traffic and  the usual gridlock during peak hours on major roads such as Dhaula Kuan- Gurgaon, Nehru Place to Asram, Vikas Marg and Narayana to Punjabi Bagh. Although on few occasions I used Google Live traffic updates, which helped me to have  hassle free driving, the search giant’s live traffic information has its limitations and works only in four metros. Bangalore based startup, Happypaths claims that it can do a better job. Launched in June 2012, happypaths, gives you real time traffic update service that lets users report traffic from their location.

Interestingly happypath’s service is not limited to metros only and it can be used to track the live traffic updates in any part of the country . Currently, happypaths is available on two platforms, Android and Web. The Android application is available on Google Play and it supports any device running Android > 2.3.3. The Web platform is a responsive website, which can be viewed on any device including workstation, tablet and mobile. In Bangalore, Traffic Genie also provides real time traffic information.

How does happypaths work?

Happypaths works with a combination of user inputs and location aware devices. The user can either chose to report traffic conditions and the application uses its predictive capability to detect traffic conditions based on the movement of the user. It uses triangulation to detect the position of the user, which is used as a parameter while reporting traffic status.

Triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by measuring angles to it from known points at either end of a fixed baseline, rather than measuring distances to the point directly . The point can then be fixed as the third point of a triangle with one known side and two known angles. Currently, triangulation is used for many purposes, including surveying, navigation, metrology,astrometry, binocular vision, model rocketry and gun direction of weapons. Importantly , all the data collected by happypaths is completely anonymous.

The company was founded and bootstrapped by Sachin Sudheendra. As of now, happypath’s Android application (link) has recorded 200+ installs with its web usage has been seeing a steady increase. To understand more about happypaths, we have spoke to Sachin. Edited Excerpts:

Pi: Share your thoughts behind launching happypaths?

Everyday while commuting, there was only one question on my mind – Wouldn’t it be nice if someone told me not to take that turn? Yes, that dreaded turn which you repent taking – Only to get stuck in what always seemed like the worst traffic congestion till date! And it kept getting worse.

happypaths was my solution, It lets users report traffic from their location. My aim was simple – an average user should be able to report in less than 10 seconds. No complex menus, no features that confuse people to an extent that they grow averse towards using the application. The solution did not have to be rocket science. All I wanted was for people to give me their perspective of the traffic conditions at their location. With a majority of the population feeding the ecosystem, it would yield significantly accurate traffic data at any location.

Pi:  How happypaths is different from Google’s live traffic update and similar services offered by telcos (Airtel, Tata Docomo etc)?

Google’s Live Traffic – Google released their traffic update service for India on September 2012, while happypaths was active since June 2012. Although being first to market in India is still something happypaths is proud about, there are some significant differences in the way we operate:

  • happypaths uses triangulation to determine speeds while Google Maps needs GPS to operate. GPS is expensive on the battery life and needs your device to have a view of the clear sky. happypaths is thus easy on the device and uses far less battery power to operate.
  • Google’s live traffic update is only available in 4 metros and Bangalore, while happypaths is location agnostic. It can be used in any part of the country.

Pi: How has been the traction so far? How many users are actually sharing the update about traffic situation across the country and from where (cities) you get maximum traction?

Since our rollout in June 2012, we have 200+ installs on Android and our web usage is seeing a steady increase. We consider this to be a fairly good number considering the minimal marketing that we have put in.

Bangalore has been the city which seems to have adopted us with open arms. Considering our marketing strategy, which till date, has been through word of mouth around Bangalore, we’re happy to have got a fairly good user base to help us trial-run the solution. Other cities include Mysore, Chennai and a few cities up north.

Pi: Tell us about happypath’s funding status, team-size and future plans ?

happypaths is completely bootstrapped by me and I manage the operation and infrastructure costs. The team is, again, me . Of course, a lot of people have supported me with this and given me valuable suggestions when needed.

Happypaths’ future is to be able to predict traffic situations and aid users in taking the best and least stressful route during their commute. Our goal is to make commute a pleasure.

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