Rudder determines the shortest, best-lit route for any nightly walk.

Rudder determines the shortest, best-lit route for any nightly walk.

No need to make that fake phone call next time you walk through a dark alley on your route home. (Well, you could still make the fake phone call if you wish, but the alley no longer has to be an issue.) Thanks to the Rudder directions app, your route home will keep you far from any dark alleys.

As with other smartphone mapping apps, Rudder finds the quickest route home using turn-by-turn walking instructions. Unlike other mapping apps, it also finds the best-lit path. Developed by two University of Michigan graduates, the app shouldn’t lead users more than five to eight minutes out of their way for the extra streetlights, and it uses the smartphone camera to gauge the brightness of one’s surroundings, Fast Company reported.

According to the app’s website, Rudder currently has acquired street-light intel from 12 cities, including Ann Arbor, Chicago, Paris, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Austin, Vancouver, Oakland, and Washington, D.C. The team also hopes to make the app capable of letting users share their route with family and friends so others can keep tabs on their walk home.

Though the app is useful for anyone who wants to feel more secure while walking alone at night, it was developed with college students in mind — especially those who are new to campus.

“We’re hoping that students will use our app not just to help them get to know their environments, but to make smarter decisions about where they are walking, especially at night,” Hannah Dow, Rudder’s designer, told Fast Company.

Top photo courtesy of Rudder’s Facebook page