The U.S. Department of Transportation has released its latest modeling results from its AERIS (Applications for Environment: Real Time Information Synthesis) program, and the results are promising.

The results of the modelling show huge benefits of a connected vehicle system, offering such possibilities of significant gasoline savings, improving air quality, and saving money, in addition to saving lives and improving mobility.

As part of USDOT's connected vehicle program, AERIS is looking into applications that could provide significant fuel and emissions saving benefits, such as the use of smart traffic signals to reduce idling and unnecessary stops. In turn, the traffic signals broadcast data about their current status and upcoming signal changes to car computers, which then would help motorists determine speeds to cut down on wasted gas and time.

Drivers could use the information from traffic signals to inform them of when to slow down, how to hit the next light green, or coast to a red light that isn't about to change to maximize gas savings and reduce CO2 emissions.

The AERIS results come from a test recently performed in El Camino Real, near Palo Alto, California. The six mile test region included over 2,000 network and demand conditions, 27 intersections with traffic signals, fixed-timing and coordinated signals, amid three lanes of traffic. Preliminary results show enormous promise: annual savings of $170 for cars and $280 for SUVs, based on those vehicles driving just 8,000 miles per year on city roads. Fleet owners would save even more- over $40,000 per year for a fleet of 150 mixed-type vehicles.

In addition, combined with the partial vehicle automation, the program helped reduce driver distraction and improve the application's performance and benefits.