New student-developed app allows Taiwan commuters to access live traffic info

A professor and three students at National Chiao Tung University developed the app over the past year

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(Photo by National Chiao Tung University)

(Photo by National Chiao Tung University)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A professor and three research students from National Chiao Tung University’s Information Engineering Department have produced a road safety app that updates drivers about road conditions and incidents along their route.

Each Lunar New Year, commuters are struck by inordinately lengthy journeys home due to traffic jams caused by road accidents and poor planning. It is hoped “The National Road Traffic Expert” (國道路況通) can help drivers receive fast and accurate traffic information to make their journeys safer and easier.

Professor Chang Ming-feng (張明峰) said he regularly travels to Taichung County (台中) and back from Taipei and is frequently met by traffic incidents. The app was borne of a desire to know what is going on ahead and how far in front any potential incident is, as well as how it occurred.

Chang started working on it in August last year along with three students, and since its official release on Jan. 4, it has been downloaded by over 4,000 Android service users.

One of the main advantages of the app is that it does not require drivers to choose different options on a screen in order to access the information they need. Rather, it updates with new information via a feed about the upcoming 10 to 30 km on the road ahead.

As well as information about traffic speed and incidents, the simple interface gives users access to road speed limits and traffic camera locations, which appear in corresponding places on a digital map.

The app initiates specific functions when two users are near each other too, for example, if a user in front breaks, it can inform the user behind in under a second. It also fully integrates public transport information from the Freeway Bureau, as well as police reports on traffic accidents.

Chang advises commuters to check the Freeway Bureau’s 1968 page to plan their travels over the holidays prior to departure. Places that usually become congested during the holiday season have been identified here.

The National Road Traffic Expert is currently only available for Android but plans are in place to develop an iOS version in the future. It can be download here from Google Play.