Traffic light monitoring app to help HGV drivers reduce emissions

A new smartphone app, Greenwave, that enables HGV drivers to monitor traffic light signals and drive more efficiently as they approach them, is to be trialled in Birmingham.

By being aware of when traffic lights will change, it’s hoped drivers will be able to adapt their speed to ‘ride the greenwave’ and minimise stops and starts at traffic lights.

This should reduce both fuel use and emissions, as vehicles will spend less time idling at red signals.

The 12-month Greenwave pilot, which started in April, forms part of the government’s £20m Low Emission Freight and Logistics trial.

It is being run in a consortium led by Idox Transport, which includes CheckedSafe, Amey and Birmingham City Council.

Birmingham is one of a number of UK cities mandated to introduce a clean air zone by 2020 and the council said it welcomed projects like this that were “creating innovative, practical solutions to improve air quality.”

Civils firm Amey will be using the new app on 12 Masternaut-equipped refuse trucks over a six-month period on its Birmingham Highways utility contract to monitor the impact on MPG and emissions.

The aim is to deliver a 10% reduction in monthly fuel costs and emissions.

Tony Matthews, Amey’s transport manager for Birmingham, said: “Amey is involved in a number of initiatives which support Birmingham City Council’s drive to improve air quality and we are delighted to be piloting this technology.

“All of our vehicles are GPS tracked so we can monitor how driving styles impact fuel consumption, and we are excited to see how this trial will help our drivers adapt even further to limit the environmental impact of these essential journeys,” he added.

How does it work?

The app is fully hands-free and uses audio and visual methods to relay data to the driver.

It uses traffic signal data to transform fleet driver behaviour by encouraging them to drive in a more efficient manner via gamification.

Drivers are awarded a green score each time they drive, based on both their driving style and how they approach traffic signals. Points accumulate over the month with a monthly league board rewarding the driver with the highest score.

CheckedSafe (winner of a Commercial Motor Award for Workshop Innovation of the Year in 2016) will be delivering the app that drivers will use to monitor traffic signal timings, working with Idox Transport which manages the Urban Traffic Monitoring Control (UTMC) system that controls the traffic signal timings, on behalf of Amey and Birmingham City Council.

Anthony Burgess, head of projects at Idox Transport, said: “There is no known solution of this type in existence – which uses data feeds from existing infrastructure to provide drivers with live updates enabling them to change their driving style.”