Smart phones and moving vehicles aren’t always considered a great combination. But if your smart phone is helping you be a safer driver, that’s a combination worth exploring.
Mansfield drivers are just one app away from turning their smart phone into a great driving partner. The city is putting its current traffic management for school zones to another use by utilizing a connected vehicle solution by Atlanta-based Applied Information.
Using the company’s Glance TravelSafely app, drivers will be alerted when they are speeding in a school zone. The cellular technology used to manage when the school zone signals operate can turn drivers’ smart phones into intelligent safety alert tools.
Mansfield will be the first city in North Texas to activate the Smart City monitoring system for speed warnings.
“We have had the school zone management system in place for about a year,” said David Boski, assistant public works director for transportation. “The cell-based technology made it easier for us to monitor the flashing lights at 64 school flashers across the city. We can adjust the schedule for when they are active, and know when there is any malfunction. Now drivers can have a direct benefit of the technology that we already in place.”
To access the alert system, Mansfield drivers must download the Glance TravelSafely app. As long as the app is running in the background, drivers will get an audible alert if they are going to fast when school zone lights are flashing.
“There isn’t a distraction for the driver,” said Jeff O’Brian, a local business development manager for Applied Information. “There is nothing they have to read. If they have the app turned on and their phone is on, they’ll get the alert.”
The Glance TravelSafely app may also be used to provide proximity warnings for pedestrians and cyclists.
“If a driver and a pedestrian or cyclist each has the app and they are traveling in the same direction, TravelSafely can provide an alert to both users as they come into close proximity to each other,” O’Brian said. “The technology can be applied to several functions.”
While Mansfield’s system now only includes school zone monitoring, the Applied Information technology also has functions for construction zone monitoring, emergency vehicle alerts and traffic signal monitoring. The company has developed a wrong way alert feature to the system.
“The City of Marietta, Georgia, is the first and only city at this point that has the complete Smart City Connected Vehicle system,” O’Brian said. “It is communicating with emergency vehicles for preemption, safety and Get Ready for Green announcements at all signalized intersections; school zone flashers with safety warnings; and speed, construction zone and curve ahead warnings that are part of nearly 300 Marietta Applied Information system locations.”
Boski said the city will analyze the data from the school zone monitoring to determine whether or not to pursue funds to expand the system.
For more information on Applied Information’s technology, visit www.appinfoinc.com. The app is available free from the App Store on iTunes and Google Play.