Waze (http://www.waze.com), the real-time crowdsourced navigation app powered by one of the world’s largest communities of drivers, announces the Waze Connected Citizens program, its largest municipal effort to date. The inaugural ten partners, the “W10,” debuted with a panel and cocktail reception hosted by Baratunde Thurston at the IAC building in New York City Wednesday night.
The mission of Waze Connected Citizens is to help Wazers, cities and citizens collaborate to improve their community and answer the question “What’s happening on our roads right now, and where?” The program promotes more efficient traffic monitoring by sharing crowdsourced incident reports from Waze drivers. Established as a two-way data share, Waze receives partner input such as feeds from road sensors, adds publicly available incident and road closure reports from the Waze traffic platform and returns one of the most succinct, thorough overviews of current road conditions today.
With the addition of city data, Wazers will be even safer on the roads and more knowledgeable about construction, marathons, floods or anything else that can cause delays. And for cities, real-time information from drivers is essential; no one knows more about what’s happening in a city than the people who live there.
The first 10 partners who have committed to work with Waze are:
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Barcelona, Spain and the Government of Catalonia
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- San Jose, Costa Rica
- Boston, USA
- State of Florida, USA
- State of Utah, USA
- Los Angeles County
- The New York Police Department (NYPD)
“Waze was built by the global community with a sense that we’re all in this together,” said Di-Ann Eisnor, head of Growth at Waze. “An affordable, accessible mobile platform like Waze eliminates superfluous layers and enables citizens and cities to connect directly. We are thrilled to pioneer the Connected Citizens program with the inaugural W10 class, who represent a commitment to efficiency and innovation on nearly every continent in the world.”
The W10 already has an exemplary case study in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In Fall 2013, the office of Mayor Eduardo Paes reached out to Waze in an effort to better monitor road conditions during a city visit from Pope Francis. Within two weeks, the Centro de Operacoes Rio (COR – Control Center of Rio) had embedded the Waze API into their traffic control center, adding driver reports to existing data from road sensors and street cameras for a more contextual view – essentially creating an ever-changing urban dashboard.
“Waze gave the COR a deeper understanding of real-time conditions,” said Pedro Junqueira, Chief Executive of COR. “Road sensors and cameras are cost-prohibitive and can’t scale to every corner of our city. The context of why traffic has occurred, in addition to specific incident reports, is invaluable.”
Deep technical knowledge is not required to be selected as a Connected Citizens partner. It is critical that prospective partners prove their dedication to citizen engagement and commit to use Waze data to improve city efficiency. Partners are also expected to measure and share their findings with other municipal organizations, developing case studies that serve as keys to a global set of improvements which can be made for collective mobility.
Several municipal organizations not included in the W10 class will enroll in Connected Citizens in the coming weeks. Currently more than 80 cities and municipal groups have applied for Connected Citizens consideration, a significant demand given that the pilot program with Rio was not publicized.
“Traffic is a universal problem,” Eisnor commented. “Word has spread quickly because this is a solution the community has never seen before. We’re dedicated to answering every call to manage the demand.”
Waze is the social navigation pioneer, leveraging mobile technology and a passionate global community to redefine expectations of today’s maps. Waze is home to one of the world’s largest networks of drivers who work together daily to outsmart traffic and save time and money. The app consistently recommends the fastest routes based on real-time driving and data from millions of users. From traffic reroutes to low gas price alerts and relevant offers from favorite brands, Waze is one of the most comprehensive driving companions in the marketplace. To download the free Waze app for iOS or Android, visit http://www.waze.com.