Study to look at how well smartphone app controls traffic lights in Portland.

CONNECTED SIGNALS - Connected Signals are looking for volunteer drivers for their Portland study.A Eugene-based company is asking Portland drivers to download and test a smartphone app designed to help manage traffic signals efficiently.

Connected Signals CEO Matt Ginsberg hopes to smooth out traffic signal management by providing drivers with more information, including a prediction of when signals will change. The app is designed to run in the foreground and provide a visual indication for drivers as they approach any traffic signal in Portland.

"The app displays a speedometer, and we'll put a green arc on the display," Ginsberg says. "If you go this speed, you'll hit the next light on green. We also show the one after, because if you hit two greens in a row, you're in the green wave and you're good."

Ginsberg has designed the software to encourage safe driving behavior and fuel-efficient driving. The goal is to reduce stops and starts, and reduce speeding. Connected Signals is working with Portland's Vision Zero program to eliminate traffic fatalities.

"To meet the safety goals of Vision Zero, satisfy ever-increasing fuel-efficiency demands, and reduce traffic congestion, the car of the future will need to know what traffic lights are doing and what they are going to do," Ginsberg says. "Given the potential benefits, it's actually surprising that today's cars don't already know this."

Portland's Bureau of Transportation makes traffic signal data available to companies like Connected Signals, with the goal of facilitating Vision Zero. Similar studies are underway in Phoenix, San Jose and Las Vegas.

"The tricky part is making sure that the information we display always encourages drivers to be safer," Ginsberg says. "What we're doing with this study is trying to figure out if we can make driving safer in general."

The app is designed to simply observe the driver's behavior for a while, and then offer guidance that will both increase the number of green lights encountered and encourage safer driving habits. Connected Signals asserts that all information gathered will remain anonymous.

Find out more

Drivers with an iPhone or Android smartphone can find out more and sign up at:

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