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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Way to Drive?

Way to Drive is a mobile application developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with TrueMotion, Inc. The application runs in the background on your smartphone device and collects information about your driving behaviors.


How does Way to Drive collect driving information?


The application uses phone sensor data to determine your device is in motion.


What information does Way to Drive collect?

Way to Drive uses location data and phone sensor data to collect information about driving events, such as trip start and end times, location and duration of trips, driver status (i.e., driver or passenger), speed, acceleration, and hard braking. It also collects information about smartphone usage during driving trips such as typing and swiping on the phone, phone calls, and connection to a Bluetooth® device. The application does not collect any information about the content you are viewing on your smartphone or who you are communicating with.


How does Way to Drive know when I’m the driver?

Way to Drive uses technology that analyzes aspects of your driving and behavior to identify whether you are a driver in a car, a passenger in a car, or traveling via some other mode of transit. On occasion, the app may mis-classify a trip. When this happens, you can tap on the trip, then on the trip mode, and select the appropriate option (“I was driving,“ “I was the passenger,” or “This was not a car”). This feedback helps the app better classify future trips.

Who can Use Way to Drive?

This application is only available to research participants who have provided informed consent and are enrolled in a research trial using Way to Drive. To see if you are eligible for a research trial using Way to Drive, please contact


How does Way to Drive affect my battery life?

Way to Drive uses a negligible amount of battery when you’re not driving, and slightly more while you’re taking a trip. Most people won’t notice a significant battery difference after installing Way to Drive, but if you have a particularly long commute or an older phone, you may want to plug in while driving.


How does Way to Drive affect my data plan?

The Way to Drive app is designed to minimize data usage. The app records driving on the phone, compresses this data to minimize its size, and then sends that data to TrueMotion’s servers for further processing. Data is transmitted using either WiFi or your data plan, depending on which network is available at the time of upload. The app is expected to use between 30-60MB / month, which represents a small fraction of the average data plan (usually at least 1000-2000 MB per month).


How will confidentiality be maintained, and my privacy be protected?

We will do our best to make sure that the personal information obtained during the course of this research study will be kept private. However, we cannot guarantee total privacy. As with any study involving collection of data, there is the possibility of breach of confidentiality of data. Every precaution will be taken to secure your personal information to ensure confidentiality. At the time of participation, each participant will be assigned a study identification number. This number will be used on surveys and in the database instead of names and other private information. A separate list will be maintained that will link each participant's name to the study identification number for future reference and communication. To participate in one of our studies, you must provide written informed consent and agree to Way to Drive's Terms of Use. Please review our Privacy Policy for more information about how we manage your data.

Still have questions?

Contact the research team at

© 2021 The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania

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