Data Driver

The Economist has an article about Green Driver which is a company that provides a driver with information about the red light he’s currently sitting at.

Dr Ginsberg says Green Driver’s currently free Enlighten app for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android will count down the seconds while a driver is at a standstill waiting for a traffic light to change from red to green. The app chimes by default when five seconds remain. The app works with live data in Portland, Oregon, and his hometown of Eugene, Oregon, and is in beta testing across the state of Utah, in Las Vegas, a Dallas suburb, and three cities in California: Arcadia, Pasadena and San Jose. He notes that to avoid safety issues, the app provides no information while a driver is in motion nor alerts them of when a green is switching to yellow or red.

The software manages this by using data from the cities’ traffic management systems. It does some data crunching in the background to offer the prediction. The cool part is that with predictive red light information, hybrids that had a built-in version of the software could

 more efficiently choose between petrol and battery as it approaches an intersection where a light is about to signal a stop. He estimates a 3-5% saving in petrol from this one change, based on testing. The firm is talking to carmakers already.

That’s real savings!

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