Bike safety app repurposed to help people find necessities during COVID-19 pandemic

What started as an app to report bike lane violations may soon be able to help you find in-demand necessities like soap and toilet paper.

“No one’s ever done anything like this before,” Mark Sussman said. “This is a brand new concept.”

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

Sussman is the co-founder and CEO of OurStreets, an app that primarily helps people report dangerous driving, but after a suggestion from officials at the DC Department of Public Works, it will soon aim to do much more under the moniker OurStreets Supplies.

Here’s how it’ll work: First, users download the OurStreets app, which is available in both the Android and iOS app stores. Then, when users are shopping for in-demand items like food, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene products, they record it in the app and let others know how much supply is still on the shelf. The reports will then help other users know where to find what they need, and ideally, Sussman said, it’ll encourage social distancing too.

“There’s not a shortage of supply, there’s a shortage of information about where that supply exists. So it may not be the traditional store that you’re going to, it might be a mom and pop store around the corner, but if folks are able to disseminate that information, we’ll be able to use OurStreets to crowdsource that information and then show you where the closest store is that has the essential supplies that you’re looking for,” explained Sussman.

The OurStreets app is free. It’s available to download now, although the OurStreets Supplies component is scheduled to launch next week.