Driver-friendly app keeps on trucking, all the Thruway

Superhighway information: The New York State Thruway now has its own driver-friendly app.

When you hit the road on Thanksgiving – and according to AAA, 51 million of you Innovate LI readers/U.S. residents will do that – your trip through New York State can be virtually enhanced.

The New York State Thruway mobile app, now available for free download on Android and iPhone devices, provides motorists with real-time traffic and navigation assistance along 570 miles of the state’s very own superhighway – which is actually a system of limited-access highways extending from the New York City/Yonkers line to the state border with Pennsylvania, just south of Lake Erie.

According to the Washington-based International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, the Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway is the fifth-busiest U.S. toll road – and now, its paying customers can get some free help, in the form of construction and traffic alerts, a toll calculator, a restaurant/restroom locator and more.

Featuring digital tools such as vocalized reports of approaching road conditions, the app meets “the needs of 21st century travelers,” according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who heralded the application as a “reliable, advanced technology to keep motorists informed and safe.”

“By connecting travelers with real-time information, this new app will help ease travel along the thruway, promote responsible driving habits and support an easier, less congested holiday commute for all,” Cuomo said this week.

Other hands-free features include incident reporting, roadside assistance and E-ZPass functions, as well as links to the I Love NY tourism app and information from the NYS Transportation and Motor Vehicle departments and the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

Acting Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll applauded the “versatile” app for not only improving travel along the highway network but for promoting “direct communication with the Thruway Authority.”

“Patrons will be able to use the ‘Report an Issue’ feature to report things like road and facility conditions and service quality,” Driscoll said in a statement. “Patrons who report conditions will receive email responses as the issues are addressed.

“This two-way communication directly between our patrons on the road and our employees will improve our ability to serve motorists.”

Even the American Automobile Association gave the app a rave review, with AAA Northeast Public Affairs Director John Corlett encouraging “all of AAA’s 2.7 million members in New York State to use this useful new app.”

“The Thruway’s new app is a valuable travel tool,” Corlett said. “We applaud the governor and the Thruway Authority as they strive to deliver an enhanced travel experience to our members and the public at large.”

The app could also deliver some commercial benefits, according to Trucking Association of New York President Kendra Hems, who noted that “knowing what to expect on the road ahead is critical to the trucking industry.”

“The Thruway Authority app will go a long way in helping professional drivers plan and proceed accordingly,” Hems said in a statement. “Particularly as the sometimes-unpredictable winter weather arrives.”