George Washington U. team wins DC funding for traffic app

A team of George Washington University students and professors has won a $25,000 award from the District to continue developing an app that would provide D.C. drivers with real-time information on traffic congestion and crashes.

The developers of the Road Vision app, which is still in the prototype phase, won the District’s first Gigabit DCx Challenge. The contest invited developers to submit solutions to some of D.C.’s top issues, including city mobility and the environment.

The developers said the Road Vision app is based on crowdsourcing and will invite drivers, pedestrians and cyclists across D.C. to submit videos of traffic congestion and collisions in an effort to identify problem areas.

The app will also use feeds from different sources to collect and analyze traffic patterns.

The goal is to provide drivers with real-time information. Additionally, “We can take these to decision-makers in D.C. and say, ‘Here are the spots and the areas in the city that we need to improve upon traffic-wise,” said Claire Silverstein, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, and a member of the winning team.

The Road Vision team, which came out on top among 22 submissions, is now working with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Vision Zero campaign to eliminate traffic-related fatalities.

“Count technologies like Road Vision … offer a unique chance to address these issues by allowing the public to contribute to data collection and sharing the results publicly,” said District Department of Transportation Director Jeff Marootian in a news release.

Silverstein said the next step is to improve video quality, make sure the app protects users’ privacy and expand the coverage area.

Silverstein hopes to eventually see it spread to other cities, as well as abroad. “As engineers, we see a problem, we want to fix it. Our first priority, of course, is D.C.”

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