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New Traffic App and Disaster Prevention Technology Road Tested

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The new CrowdAlert app allows users to give feedback on traffic incident.

A new disaster and traffic monitoring tool and a traffic smartphone app will benefit both individuals and municipal services.

Credit: Thinkstock

A new app that enables smartphone users to provide feedback on traffic accidents is now available for download.

Feedback from the CrowdAlert app, which was tested in Dublin, Ireland, enabled traffic management centers to respond more quickly to accidents around the city.

The European Union-funded Insight project developed the app, along with a citywide real-time traffic-monitoring tool called the Insight System. The system, which was tested in the Dublin City control room and with nationwide disaster-monitoring technologies, provided early warnings to experts at situation centers, enabling them to monitor developments in real time. New algorithmic techniques and methodologies for traffic modeling, active learning, crowdsourcing, and event monitoring were integrated into the system.

The researchers say the project shows how smartphones and social networks can be used to improve public services and safety. They say the results should be of interest to public services, which until now have lacked the necessary infrastructure to exploit miscellaneous data streams.

"The keys to success of this project were focusing on incorporating the user's perspective, developing robust systems, and evaluating these under realistic conditions," says project coordinator Dimitrios Gunopulos. "The project has shown that bringing in new technologies can improve traffic and emergency management and provide a successful model for developing such complex systems."

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