Traffic jams are awful not only because they make you late for whatever appointments you have, but because idling and stop and go traffic kill your car’s fuel efficiency. That’s why Honda is working on a smartphone app that it says can not only reduce the occurrence of traffic jams, but improve a car’s fuel economy by as much as 20 percent.
The app, which Honda tested on a toll road in Indonesia, monitors a driver’s acceleration and decceleration patterns to determine if he is driving in a way that is conducive to creating a traffic jam. If the app determines the driver’s actions could cause a jam, it changes the color of the smarpthone’s display to blue, indicating that he needs to adjust his driving pattern. If he’s driving in a way that’s less apt to cause a jam, the app changes the smartphone’s display to green.
The app was tested in two ways: first with each smartphone operating independently of other drivers, then with several drivers using the app while connected to each others’ smartphones. In the first test, drivers realized a fuel savings of 20 percent and a reduction of traffic jam occurrences by up to six minutes with an average of three minutes. The second test resulted in drivers realizing a fuel savings of 22 percent and a reduction in traffic jam occurrences by up to six minutes with an average of four minutes.
Honda says it will continue to work on the in-car app, as well as a mechanism to use it on motorcycles. Unfortunately, because testing is still ongoing, the app has no projected release date. Still, the possibility of a decrease in traffic jams and increased fuel economy through the use of an app is an exciting development.