- The city of Charlotte is piloting a new travel safety app intended to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists in the North Carolina city's South End.
As part of the city's ongoing Vision Zero effort to eliminate traffic deaths, the TravelSafely app connects users to each other and an electronic network of intersection and crosswalk data, according to a city press release. The pilot will run through November 2023 and the app is free to download.
The app alerts motorists using the app when a light is about to turn green and if they are driving too fast when approaching a red light or in slow-speed zones. It also alerts drivers when cyclists ahead are using the app and when pedestrians using the app are in a crosswalk if it does not appear the motorist is going to stop.
Cities throughout the U.S. have launched Vision Zero campaigns intended to reduce or eliminate traffic fatalities through design and policy. However, despite those efforts, traffic fatalities have climbed since the start of the pandemic.
After seeing its population rapidly rise, Charlotte launched its Vision Zero action plan in 2018, aiming to reduce crashes and eliminate traffic-related deaths and severe injuries by 2030. Through that effort, the city has installed protected bike lanes and cycle tracks, reduced speed limits, improved lighting along high-injury roads and published crash data, among other initiatives.
The city's new travel safety app is the campaign's latest pilot. The Charlotte Department of Transportation partnered with the nonprofit Charlotte Center City Partners to alert residents in the city neighborhood about the app and their ability to participate. City staff will evaluate and compare crash data before and after the pilot in collaboration with the local police department.
"We must work together to improve traffic safety and this app promotes connectivity to each other and to our surroundings," said Charlotte City Council Member Victoria Watlington in a statement. "The app is another tool that will help us improve safety for all people using our roads and I encourage everyone to download the app and use it in the South End pilot project area."