Fourteen city, state and national governments are trading data with Waze, a navigation app, to make their transport infrastructure more efficient. Waze aggregates crowdsourced information about congestion and road incidents, which provides agencies with a more precise overview of real-time traffic conditions. The app helped Rio de Janeiro manage traffic during the Olympics and northeastern US states respond to Hurricane Sandy.
Results & Impact
Since 2013, Waze has partnered with 14 government agencies to help them manage traffic and deliver emergency services more effectively. Rio de Janeiro's traffic management centre used Waze’s slow-down and traffic jam data to decide where to build three new highways prior to the Olympics. During the games, users reported more than 430 road closures, allowing the government to divert traffic, which led to a 24 to 27% decrease in congestion during the morning commute. The US partnered with the app to target relief services during Hurricane Sandy
Waze, 14 government agencies
Waze, an app that helps drivers better navigate roads using real-time, crowdsourced traffic data, partners with cities, states and countries in a unique data-swapping model. By using Waze’s data, governments can react more quickly to incidents and save money on traffic data tools. In return, governments supply Waze with information on road closures, upcoming maintenance, street construction and trash collection times, which helps Waze give its users better route options. Waze uses Google Location Services to track users' movements in real time, providing the app with travel time estimates and route details. Users can also submit reports on traffic conditions
Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, Boston, Jakarta, Florida, Washington D.C., Barcelona, Kentucky, Sydney, Budapest, Latvia, San Jose and Mexico City
Cost & Value
Data is exchanged at no cost to governments
Running since 2013
Police in several countries have complained about Waze features that allow drivers to submit warnings about speed traps and law enforcement sightings. Police say it lets people game the system, but Waze insists that the features improve road safety because people drive more carefully when they believe police are nearby
After Waze's first public-private partnership with Rio de Janeiro, the company partnered with agencies in Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, Boston, Jakarta, Florida, Washington D.C., Barcelona, Kentucky, Sydney, Budapest, Latvia, San Jose and Mexico City. The company has plans to expand its partnership model to more cities, states and countries
Fourteen city, state and national governments are using crowdsourced traffic data to improve urban planning and more effectively deliver emergency services.
Waze is a Google-owned app that helps drivers better navigate roads with real-time information on traffic, accidents, potholes and even speed traps – all crowdsourced from 65 million monthly active users from all over the world. Waze uses Google Location Services to track users’ movements in real time, providing the app with travel time estimates and route details. In 2013, Waze launched the Connected Citizens Program, through which the app partners with government agencies to trade traffic data. By using Waze’s data, governments can react more nimbly to incidents and save money on traffic tools.
In return, governments supply the app with information on road closures, upcoming maintenance, street construction and even trash collection times, which helps Waze give its users better route options.
Waze’s first public-private partnership was with Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2013, the city asked Waze to monitor road conditions before and during an upcoming visit from Pope Francis. Two weeks later, the Waze API was integrated into Rio’s Control Centre to help monitor traffic. The crowdsourced data helped urban planners decide where to install cameras and deploy personnel during the visit. Prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics, planners used Waze’s slow-down and traffic jam data to decide where to build three new highways. During the games, users reported more than 430 road closures, allowing the government to divert traffic quickly. The data led to a 24 to 27% decrease in congestion during morning hours.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the northeastern United States in 2012, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) needed to resupply fuel to gas stations that had ran out – but had no way of determining which stations needed help. FEMA turned to Waze, which sent out a form out to users asking for information on gas station outages within an hour. Its users crowdsourced more than 10,000 responses, and FEMA was able to target its resources to stations in need.
By swapping data, governments can save on expensive sensor systems and data management tools. Cities tend to have sensor networks and CCTV cameras installed on major roads, but expanding reach to residential areas is costly. For example, when Washington, DC wanted to track potholes throughout the district, it turned to Waze. The app asked its users to submit pothole locations and received some 10,000 reports. The city patched the potholes within 48 hours of their being identified.
Police in various countries have issued complaints about a feature that lets drivers submit information about speed traps and law enforcement sightings. Police say it helps drivers cheat the system; Waze insists that people drive more safely when they think law enforcement is near.
Waze works with government agency partners in Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, Boston, Jakarta, Florida, Washington D.C., Barcelona, Kentucky, Sydney, Budapest, Latvia, San Jose and Mexico City, with plans to expand.
(Picture credit: Flickr/Yukun Chen)