HOUSTON -- Wouldn’t it be great if you could reserve your place in the morning rush hour commute, and have your smartphone give you an exact route to take to avoid traffic?
Students in Germany have created an app they say does just that. It’s so good, Microsoft recently awarded them $10,000.
The app is called “Greenway.” Its makers say ordinary navigation systems might warn drivers about upcoming traffic jams, but Greenway actually aims to prevent the jams entirely.
It does this by studying traffic flow and calculating which routes everyone should take based on their destinations. The idea is one day, enough people will use this app so it can actually orchestrate the morning commute for an entire city-directing everyone around each other at just the right time.
Sounds complex, right? They’re already successfully testing it on Windows Phone in Europe, but it’s not available in the United States yet.
There are some free apps out there right now, however, that will save drivers money:
> Gas Buddy (shows you the cheapest gas prices around you on a map)
> Waze (uses social media to allow drivers to report traffic issues and cheap gas prices; complete with turn-by-turn directions)
Only time will tell whether or not the Greenway app idea will work. Its makers claim even areas with a lot of drivers should see rush hour speeds double.