Commuter Connections and the Maryland Transportation Institute at the University of Maryland (UMD) have launched a mobile app that allows commuters in the Washington DC region to save time, money, and fuel, while earning rewards for planning trips.
The new incenTrip app recommends the best travel mode, departure time, and route based on real-time traffic prediction data and a user’s personal preferences to help commuters avoid both day-to-day congestion and traffic jams caused by accidents, work zones, special events, and adverse weather conditions. With the app, commuters can earn rewards points every time they plan trips to and from work, avoid traffic, or use alternatives to drive-alone commuting, such as carpooling, walking, bicycling, or taking transit. Commuters who use the app during rush hours can redeem rewards points for cash from Commuter Connections, which is a regional network of transportation organizations coordinated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG). The app provides users a fun and game-like environment, where they can accomplish customized weekly goals, win challenges, and invite friends to participate.
The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (Energy) funded the incenTrip project with a US$4.5m grant. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also provided funding for early stages of incenTrip’s technical development. The comprehensive trip planner uses sophisticated technology to provide users with the environmental impact of their commute. incenTrip helps users track and understand their emissions from driving and even has personalized tips to help them become a better eco-driver based on their driving habits. If users do not, incenTrip shows them how much they have earned in estimated fuel savings and how much pollution they have avoided generating.
“incenTrip helps commuters make the best travel decision, while rewarding choices that benefit the entire region,” said Martin Nohe, chairman of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at MWCOG. “The app and its users will help reduce congestion, energy use, and vehicle emissions in the region.”
Dr Lei Zhang, director of the Maryland Transportation Institute at UMD, added, “We are excited to introduce incenTrip to commuters in the DC region. The incenTrip app is a fun and easy way to improve your commute, while also helping other commuters.”