Smartphone app competition allows drivers to score themselves and win prizes
BOSTON – Monday, October 3, 2016 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Vision Zero Task Force, in partnership with Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) and the Arbella Insurance Foundation, today announced the launch of the Boston’s Safest Driver Competition, a smartphone based app that scores drivers on five behaviors associated with safer driving. Drivers from the Metro Boston area are invited to compete for over $9,000 in prizes by downloading the app and practicing safe driving on the roads.
“Our top priority is creating streets that are safe for Boston’s pedestrians, cyclists and drivers,” said Mayor Walsh. “We know that when drivers are more attentive, we save lives, and this new competition is a fun way to encourage drivers to use more caution when traveling on our streets. I thank Cambridge Mobile Telematics and the Arbella Insurance Foundation for their partnership.”
The Boston’s Safest Driver Competition allows participants to challenge their friends, see how they rank in their community, and win prizes for improvement each week. Between now and December 3, participants can download the app and win one of a dozen weekly prizes for everything from having the top score, to being the best new driver, to taking car-free trips.
Funding for prizes has been provided by the Insurance Foundation and the Cambridge Mobile Telematics donated technology services for competition.
The competition will culminate in mid-December with the crowning of the Safest drivers in the region. A major goal of the program is to allow users to self-reflect on their own driving habits, particularly distractions from mobile phones, which the app informs the user about after a drive has been completed. According to the United States Department of Transportation, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2014.
“The Arbella Insurance Foundation has been on the front lines of the fight against distracted driving for more than 7 years and we’re proud to partner with the City of Boston on this first-of-its-kind city-run competition,” said John Donohue, chairman, president and CEO of the Arbella Insurance Group, and chairman of the Arbella Insurance Foundation. “We’re committed to making our streets safer and the Boston’s Safest Driver competition is the perfect way for the community to come together to achieve this goal.”
The app, developed by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, provides feedback to drivers on five metrics for each trip they take: rapid acceleration, harsh braking, sharp turns, at-risk speeding, and phone distraction. The app logs trips while in the background on the user’s phone, and the driver is alerted afterwards of their score for that trip, told how they did on the different factors, and provided with helpful tips to improve in the future.
“Many people blame smartphones for an increase in distracted driving, and there is some truth to that. Over the past several years, right here in Boston, our team at CMT has shown that smartphone technology can help make people better drivers. The Safest Driver app uses phone sensors to measure distraction and other aspects of risky driving,” said Hari Balakrishnan, CTO of Cambridge Mobile Telematics. “We are delighted to partner with the Mayor’s Office to bring this engaging app to our City and make Boston’s roads safer.”
In 2015, Mayor Walsh launched Vision Zero Boston as a commitment to focus the City’s resources on eliminating fatal and serious traffic crashes in Boston by 2030. The Vision Zero initiative explicitly promises action on addressing distracted driving, reducing speeding, and the exploration of new engagement strategies – all goals that sparked the partnership between CMT and the City. CMT, a spinoff from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, is pioneering advanced telematics and behavioral analytics technologies to develop innovative safe-driving programs.
About The Mayor’s Office of Urban Mechanics
The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics serves as the City’s innovation incubator, building partnerships between internal agencies and outside entrepreneurs to pilot projects that address resident needs. Their streetscape work spans ways to make the transportation experience better for users, through products like the ParkBoston app, to working on the impact that autonomous vehicles could have on people in Boston. Their approach to innovation is human-centered, nimble and responsive to the changing needs of our growing City.
About Arbella Insurance Foundation
Established in 1988, the Arbella Insurance Group is a company with over $850 million in revenue with over $1 billion in assets, headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts. Arbella is a customer-focused regional property and casualty insurance company, providing personal and business insurance in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and business insurance in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Arbella Insurance Group founded the Arbella Insurance Foundation in 2004. The mission of Arbella’s Foundation is to engage in activities and to support not-for-profit organizations that have a significant positive impact on the people and communities served by Arbella.
About Cambridge Mobile Telematics
Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) makes roads and drivers safer around the world. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and founded in 2010 by two MIT professors and experienced entrepreneurs, CMT pioneered smartphone-based telematics and behavioral analytics, including new approaches to usage and behavior-based insurance. CMT’s award-winning DriveWell program is now used in numerous successful safe-driving apps and programs in many countries around the globe, with a proven record of changing driver behavior: an average reduction of 35% in phone distraction, 20% in hard braking, and 20% in at-risk speeding, all within less than 30 days of drivers using the app. For more information, please visit cmtelematics.com and follow on Twitter @cmtelematics.