Taking the fight to CO2, Microsoft technologies make it happen

We live in a fascinating time where technology is interjecting itself in to our lives and we are quickly forgoing the roads forged by our ancestors. Long gone are the covered wagons and we are no longer donning suits to go out shopping for food.

In our progression of the horseless carriage to the automobile, we have become a dirty world. From the early onset of unregulated automotive traffic to coal power plants, we have pumped a lot of CO2 in to the atmosphere.

We have progressed a long way in terms of being environmentally conscious and an Imagine Cup team (Greenway) has created a useful app that tackles our CO2 emitting ways. The idea is relatively simple but ingenious at the same time and uses several Microsoft technologies to help you reduce CO2 next time you hit the road.

Greenway is an innovative navigation system which significantly reduces the CO2 emission of cars and thus helps ensuring a sustainable environment and climate. The system routes the entire traffic of a city in an optimal way. It knows the exact position as well as the route of every car at any point in time. With that information, our novel algorithm can calculate the best route for every car and communicate those routes to the cars. While navigation systems such as Google Maps only relocate a traffic jam from one street to another, Greenway reserves timeslots on streets such that traffic congestion is being actively prevented. We are using map data from OpenStreetMap as the basis of our routing-algorithm.

We had a chance to chat with team Greenway, who are from Germany by the way, about their application and to help understand their grand vision for the platform.

Their strategy is quite creative and will eventually turn in to a business that will shape our traffic options going forward. The idea is that the team promises that they can save you money, decrease your travel time and also reduce CO2 emissions by using Greenway; the team uses Azure and Windows Phone to make it happen.

When you select a destination, you are given options for your route. If you chose the ‘Greenway’ option, the application will provide you with your fuel savings based on their route which takes in to consideration several factors, most notable is traffic. If you select the Greenway, you will be assessed a fee which is a percentage of your savings as calculated by the platform; if the ‘Greenway’ ends up not being faster, no fee will be assessed.

The idea is simple, the team takes a cut of the savings you will receive by using their application and in the end, you will save more money, get home faster, and reduce your CO2 output.

Because the team uses more variables than Google Maps, or the basic re-routing feature on your current GPS, they can get your destination faster; they built a better mousetrap.

The team reported that they are in early talks with vendors such as Nokia and Bing maps but they have nothing to announce at this time regarding a possible relationship with these vendors.

These types of projects are the results of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition. The horizon-broadening challenges Microsoft presents spurs on the minds of all ages to create applications, services, and even companies that can tackle projects at the micro and macro scale to make an impact, of any size, that contributes to the advancement of society.

Neowin will be attending the Imagine Cup finals in early July that will showcase applications like the one you see above(and many others) on the grand stage.

Learn More: Greenway

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17 Comments

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Lachlan said,


they said that in the video.. If everyone has that same GPS then they will all be just sent to a new bottleneck because it does not update traffic instantly.. they show you the historical traffic I thought instead of this one that shows the traffic live

My GPS gets live updates. Where do you think this system will be getting its traffic data from? The same system my GPS uses and the same system that is used by all sorts of traffic related applications. It's not like they're going to build a new infrastructure. Maybe they predict traffic which will help plan your route accordingly but if you drive the same route everyday, chances are you know what to expect in terms of traffic. I see some value here but not much and certainly nothing I would pay residual fees for.

Nice - Politically Correct - Fail. At least in the US upper mid-west where so many of the roads are trashed by the yearly frost/freeze/thaw. Save 25 cents on fuel to spend a couple hundred on tires -- I think not. From a green point of view that's makes just as little sense as from an economics perspective.

Ulpian said,
Oh no, not CO2 BS again...

Considering the very minor role CO2 played in the article (it was practically an aside), it's far more telling of your own perspective and personality that you latched onto it and made it the entire point of your comment.

Just saying.

rfirth said,

Not sure where you think all the CO2 you produce goes...

Food for plants and algae maybe..... CO2 is a by-product as well as source for life, just like Oxygen and our good friend H20.

libertas83 said,

Food for plants and algae maybe..... CO2 is a by-product as well as source for life, just like Oxygen and our good friend H20.

What the heck is H-twenty? There's no way that's a typo. Have you been going through life thinking it was a zero and not the letter O?

AtriusNY said,

Somebody is watching too much Fox News


LOL, I don't live in USA. I also don't have TV anymore (by choice). Here, in EU, CO2 BS is just a new industry to steal money from common people (indirectly). Big corporations and sold/paid politicians will earn money on it.

I consulted one professor about climate changes. He told me, that main reasons for climate changes are 1. Cutting trees 2. Building "concrete jungle". Trees help avoiding heat accumulation; cities, made of concrete, absorb heat from the Sun. CO2 is needed for trees to produce oxygen. So, I think that fight with climate changes should be aimed for making new forests and gardens on rooftops like in Japan, not making new (para-)taxes.

Ulpian said,

LOL, I don't live in USA. I also don't have TV anymore (by choice). Here, in EU, CO2 BS is just a new industry to steal money from common people (indirectly). Big corporations and sold/paid politicians will earn money on it.

I consulted one professor about climate changes. He told me, that main reasons for climate changes are 1. Cutting trees 2. Building "concrete jungle". Trees help avoiding heat accumulation; cities, made of concrete, absorb heat from the Sun. CO2 is needed for trees to produce oxygen. So, I think that fight with climate changes should be aimed for making new forests and gardens on rooftops like in Japan, not making new (para-)taxes.

In pure objective honesty, the way you state your opinions sounds like you're regurgitating something you heard somewhere else, rather than conclusions you came to on your own by looking into the data.

Frankly, in the age of Wikipedia, I don't think there's any excuse for recycling other people's opinions. If you're going to have a passionate opinion about something, take the time and put the effort into educating yourself so you--at the very least--don't just sound like just another member of a swarm of parrots.

I can find your opinions, word for word, in comment threads all over freerepublic, fox, drudge, and crap like that. That does NOT mean your beliefs are being "affirmed". It means people aren't going to take you seriously because you won't sound like you THINK.

I must be missing something here. It sounds like it's just a GPS with traffic reports. The GPS in my car already has this and gives me suggestions to route around the traffic jams. The only difference I can see is that Greenway will charge you for the privelage.

I asked about this, from what I understood, this is an active, or living process, whereas your GPS is passive and only reacts when you ask it too.

It's a new algorithm that pulls in more factors than what currents systems use to keep you not only out of the current congestion, but also the deviant congestion caused by the first incident.

Hackersoft MS MVP said,
I must be missing something here. It sounds like it's just a GPS with traffic reports. The GPS in my car already has this and gives me suggestions to route around the traffic jams. The only difference I can see is that Greenway will charge you for the privelage.


they said that in the video.. If everyone has that same GPS then they will all be just sent to a new bottleneck because it does not update traffic instantly.. they show you the historical traffic I thought instead of this one that shows the traffic live