WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSH) - Good new for drivers. There's a new app that can help you avoid potholes in your area.
It's available here in western Mass, but more users are needed to expand the coverage area.
Cracks and potholes on the road can be damaging to your car and also to the environment.
With a goal of alerting drivers ahead of time, students and professors at M.I.T., UMass-Dartmouth, and Harvard have joined others around the world to create the app called "Carbin'.
"What the app does is capture the roughness of the road," one M.I.T. student tells us.
“One of the main reasons that we came up with this platform is how we can, in real time, measure and estimate road quality and road roughness, and the related environmental impact and fuel consumption.” UMass-Dartmouth assistant professor Arghavan Louhghalam stated.
Professor Loughalam and the Massachusetts students who helped develop the app showed Western Mass news how it works.
The data collection starts with drivers who download the app and record as they drive.
"So for the phone placement as long as it is attached to the car it will be fine - so for example the most ideal position is so that we put it into the phone holder. You can put it into the cup holder like like this or you can technically put it on the floor," one M.I.T. student says.
The vibrations from your car hitting holes or cracks on the road are sent through the app to a website where drivers can check an online map of their area to see where potholes may be lurking.
Going to that website, fixmyroad. u.s., we see red dots indicating bad road conditions or potholes on Circuit Avenue in West Springfield.
Here is what Western Mass News found when we got to Circuit Avenue: cracks, potholes, and rough road conditions, just like the online map showed.
Professor Louhghalam says this app can lead to improved road conditions around the state, while creating something called ecorouting.
“Ecorouting means that how to find the road that has best road quality and consequently has less fuel consumption and less co2 emission, and we have shown that better road quality means that you have less damage to your suspension system and to your car," continued Professor Louhghalam.
But moving forward, more Carbin app users are needed to broaden the results available to drivers.
“So with only one measurement, our estimations will not be that accurate, but as we gather more and more data, our measurements and our estimations become very accurate," added Professor Louhghalam.
The overall goal is to have this data collected for roads all around the world.