Texas A&M Transportation Institute develops Prototype Traveler Information App

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COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - The Texas A&M Transportation Institute is testing a new tool that shares traffic and roadway information in a cutting-edge way that will give drivers a heads up to what's coming up.

As traffic grows on Texas' busy roads, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute is seeking ways to make those trips safer.

Robert Brydia is a Senior Research Scientist with TTI and recently tested a new Prototype Traveler Information app for smart phones.

They recently ran tests on I-35.

"We have a wealth of traveler information on the I-35 corridor due to the construction efforts between Salado and Hillsboro so we decided to try to take this information and combine it in ways that aren't being done currently by the existing commercial navigation services," he explained.

The app can relay information on changeable message boards so you don't have to be near them, and also alerts you to changing road conditions.

"So you can see when you when there's an incident on the roadway it alerts you to the incident and asks you if you want more information," said Brydia.

"Say details for more information regarding this lane closure," said the app in a demonstration.

"Details," Brydia replied.

"Southbound I-H 35 Central Avenue to Loop 121 milling and paving, right two lanes closed nightly until 7 A.M.," the app said through a smartphone.

It even shows nearest traffic cameras.

Researchers at TTI say this app is sharing information in ways that's never been done before. Whether you're a truck driver or a regular commuter it can make your drive safer.

While the app doesn't control a car, new technologies could eventually have the car react to upcoming traffic conditions or hazards.

“That’s certainly a possibility and something that cars of today are being designed for in the future. I don’t want to oversell the application, this does nothing like that this simply prototypes information flows of the future," Brydia said.

He says the future of driving includes developing technologies.

"We're going to be increasingly dependent on an interaction between vehicles and the infrastructure and vehicle to vehicle communications. That's really where all of the research and focus has been over the last 5 to 10 years and it's really starting to come to fruition," he said.

The app cost $60,000 to develop and was funded by TTI's Center for Transportation Safety.

Researchers say they have groups interested in developing the app for commercial purposes.