The app will work in any model equipped with the BMW Apps option, albeit only in cities that have an integrated network of smart traffic signals. According to BMW, that currently applies to just Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and Salt Lake City.
Nevertheless, the maker of the app, Connected Signals, says it can increase safety at intersections, improve fuel economy and reduce stress by using existing infrastructure to display the current status of a traffic light in front of the car in real time, as well as a countdown to when the signal will change.
The app uses the vehicle's current position and speed to offer recommendations about whether to stop for a traffic light or proceed through the intersection. And if a signal change is imminent, an audible alert sounds to get the driver's attention.
At intersections with lighted arrows for turns, EnLighten uses the vehicle's turn indicators to sense the driver's intentions and display only the status of the relevant light.
And when a vehicle is stopped at a red light, the app displays a countdown and signals the driver when it's time to move again.
As for its limited geographic use, BMW points out that those areas in Oregon and Utah account for more than 2,000 traffic lights and that more cities will be coming on line as traffic signals are upgraded.
Edmunds says: EnLighten sounds like an app that could benefit drivers once the infrastructure is more widely available to support it.