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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA professor creates traffic-decreasing app


Courtesy of Paul Tumarkin / Tech Launch Arizona

Yi-Chang Chiu, an associate professor of civil engineering, created a new traffic app called Metropia to help inprove traffic flow in cities. Metropia has been implemented so far in New York and Austin, Texas.

A UA professor created an app that will help decrease traffic congestion in different cities around the country.

The creator of the app, Yi-Chang Chiu, an associate professor of civil engineering at UA, said Metropia was created to help commuters recognize that we are part of a problem and that we can be part of a solution for future traffic congestion.

According to the patent for the technology, the app provides incentives for the public to travel during certain time windows and offers different routes that will help decrease traffic congestion.

“We try to offer incentives in a way that encourages those who have flexible schedules,” Chiu said.

The app also includes a route determination module operative to create a certain route between an origin and destination and the app will receive the location information from the mobile device it is installed on.

Chiu said that if they can convince about 10 percent of drivers to be willing to adjust their departure time and route, they would be able to reduce congestion significantly and create powerful improvement.

Metropia has been building connections in many different cities, such as Austin, New York City and trials with Los Angeles, Chiu said.

Metropia attracts cities and attention because their technology helps the cities alleviate congestion in their area, making for happier locals.

Lewis Humphreys, the software and IT licensing manager of Tech Launch and worker for Metropia, said the whole purpose of the app and company being created is to address the problem of traffic congestion, reduce energy consumption and improve the environment. Metropia works with businesses in the communities, the communities’ transportation department and different industry partners to reach those goals.

“They have a novel way of creating incentives for end users,” Humphreys said. “They incentivize the driver to change their behavior and leave and take different routes, leave at different times, based on current traffic data.”

The app will also send them notifications about highways backed up due to accidents, and allows access to different travel routes.

The city of New York recently had an international competition for start up companies to submit information about their technology, and Metropia was one of the finalists for the competition.

Humphreys said that the UA has supported the company and Chiu since the beginning.

“He initially had an idea to create the company and approached Tech Transfer,” Humphreys said. “Tech Transfer helped him to protect his property and helped him to meet people, to start his company and continue to be a partner in the support of the company.”

Director of technology transfer at the UA, Doug Hockstad said that Tech Launch Arizona is very excited and proud of this new company.
“It is our goal to support the efforts of our faculty, to create these impactful changes and this is a really exciting one and we are happy about this,” Hockstad said.


Follow Alyssa Schlitzer on Twitter.

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