Anyone who has to fight their way through big city traffic on a daily basis often doesn’t see the other road users as the biggest nuisance. Rather, it is the traffic lights that cause gridlocked traffic with their actions and thus also annoying traffic jams within the city. This not only affects the psyche of drivers. On top of that, the permanent stop-and-go is a real burden on the environment. Hesse now wants to take action against this. For the sake of the environment and drivers, the state in southwestern Germany wants to rely on support from smart apps.
More environmental protection thanks to green wave
The two major German cities of Kassel and Frankfurt am Main want to make road traffic a little more modern. With the help of digital helpers, they want to increasingly ensure the coveted “green wave”. The app “trafficpilot” is playing the leading role. This is designed to enable drivers to create the best conditions for riding the coveted green wave. For example, it shows at what speed one will catch the next green light phase. In doing so, of course, one should not exceed the legally prescribed speeds. Instead, it should often even be a speed reduction that leads the driver to the destination with as few stops as possible. If you do have to stop at a red light, trafficpilot should be able to indicate when the light turns green again thanks to an integrated timer.
A simple as well as ingenious idea, which should not only relax the nerves of drivers, but also relieve the environment. The city of Kassel even presents figures for this. According to the city administration, the idea is to reduce fuel consumption and thus also pollution. Reduced stopping will reduce a high risk factor of inner-city road traffic. After all, it is precisely starting at a traffic light intersection that not only causes many accidents, but also means high fuel consumption on top of that. Since the federal government has contributed just over a quarter of a million euros to the development of trafficpilot, other cities are likely to follow after a successful test in Frankfurt and Kassel.
Road traffic is becoming increasingly digital
Incidentally, trafficpilot is not only intended to help smartphone apps contribute to more ecological and safer road traffic in German cities. The so-called “Digi-V” system, which is being used in Wiesbaden, the capital of the German state of Hesse, enables a sophisticated traffic light system that, for the sake of the environment, adjusts the traffic lights as needed, for example. Here, a central computer delegates all the city’s traffic lights based on environmental and traffic data. Employees at the control center can then decide to what extent they will change circuits. For example, if there is an increased volume of traffic at a particular traffic light, they can unceremoniously extend the green phase to provide relief. Another Hessian city that has attempted to digitize and thus improve its road traffic is Darmstadt. Here, it was not the trafficpilot app but “Enlighten” that was supposed to provide relief.
However, the startup, which originated in the USA, did not survive the Corona crisis, as the city has since announced. As a result, the promising project unfortunately had to be cancelled. In principle, Enlighten worked according to a very similar principle to trafficpilot. The focus was on riding the green wave within the city by specifying the optimal travel speed. Consequently, one could perhaps switch to trafficpilot here as well. All in all, the digital assistants seem to be a real enrichment for road traffic. The ADAC also sees it this way. The automobile club considers the apps in particular to be very practical and safe for drivers. However, care must be taken to avoid misinterpretations. After all, an advised speed reduction could also be understood as a request to accelerate in order to overtake the green phase without further ado.