Va. researchers offering drivers $3,850 to participate in year-long traffic study

- Many of us in the D.C. region understand how bad traffic can be in this area. Well, you may be able to cash in while you sit in traffic.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) is working on a new smartphone system that you use in your car and is intended to help reduce traffic congestion in the future.

If you participate in their full yearlong study, VTTI will pay drivers $3,850.

But in order to take part, you must have a vehicle outfitted with Adaptive Cruise Control. That is where the car automatically adjusts to keep a safe distance from other vehicles on the road.

Those in charge of the study will mount two small cameras on the ceiling inside your vehicle – one pointed toward the back windshield and the other mounted on the front windshield. Another camera for data collection will be placed on the windshield right below the rearview mirror. They will all be hooked up to the data collection equipment installed in the truck behind the back seat.

This Advanced Traveler Information System will churn out real-time messages through a smartphone app that will warn you about congestion, weather events, traffic accidents, work zones and safety events.

Through this technology, they hope to cut down on traffic congestion and you will see how the automated technology will work to help do that.

Here is how people participating in this study will be compensate:

System installation: $125
Monthly compensation for ongoing participating: $3,600 ($300 x 12 months)
System Deinstallation: $125
Total compensation for full participation: $3,850

However, drivers will need to regularly drive on these roads in Northern Virginia:

- Interstate 66
- US Route 29
- US Route 50
- Interstate 495

You also must have a valid U.S. driver's license.

If you are worried about privacy, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute said they will have a handle on that and only video will be recorded on those cameras – not audio.

You can also drop out of the study part way through if you want.

For more information about the study, go to www.vtti.vt.edu/elite/

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