App tells you when many Richmond stoplights will change

Posted at 1:03 PM, May 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-17 13:03:19-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A tech company is connecting some Richmond traffic lights via a smartphone app that will alert drivers when the light changes or is about to change.

For a year now, ten traffic lights on Leigh Street have had little black antennas connected to stop light controls that allows smartphones to connect with the lights.

"You can see we're starting to approach Leigh Street,” Jeff Wilson, Business Development Manager with Applied Information, said from inside a car. “We're starting to collect the SPAT data."

The TravelSafely app is designed to alert drivers when a light is about to turn red or when they are about to get a green.

"So they don't know like, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,” Wilson explained. “We do it incrementally, because we don't want people gunning it and taking off."

The alerts pop up in real-time in hopes – like an alert about when you're in a school zone -- providing the info will make the roads safer and traffic at lights more efficient.

Drivers already face a bevy of distractions in 2019, so some folks wondered if the app could potentially be another one.

"We believe this app will create an awareness of what's happening to prevent you from being distracted,” said Paul Thompson with Mobotrex. “If you're sitting at a red light and looking down, the audible indication of get ready for green, that is going to make you more efficient at driving the roadways."