FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Waze (http://www.waze.com), the real-time, “crowd-sourced” navigation app powered by the world’s largest communities of drivers, have entered into a partnership through the new Waze Connected Citizens program, the company’s largest municipal effort to date.
Waze is a GPS-based geographical navigation application program for smartphones with GPS support and display screens. It provides turn-by-turn information and user-submitted travel times and route details, downloading location-dependent information over a mobile telephone network.
The mission of Waze Connected Citizens is to help cities, citizens and “Wazers,” as drivers using the app are known, 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 crowd-sourced 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 a succinct, thorough overview of current road conditions.
With the addition of city data, Wazers can be safer and more knowledgeable about anything that can cause delays, such as construction, a flooded roadway or large public events. For cities, real-time information from drivers is essential, and no one knows more about what’s happening in a city than the people who live there.
“The data generated by Wazers will complement our 511 service,” Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said. “This crowd-sourced information will help us respond more quickly and efficiently to traffic situations. Managing congestion on Kentucky’s roads is an ongoing challenge for the Transportation Cabinet, so we’re glad to be a part of Waze Connected Citizens.”
“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. “A free, 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 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, which represents a commitment to efficiency and innovation.”
Deep technical knowledge is not required for selection as a Connected Citizens partner. Prospective partners must be dedicated 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.
Connected Citizens 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 visit to the city from Pope Francis. Within two weeks, the Centro de Operações Rio (Control Center of Rio) had embedded the Waze application program interface into its 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.
Currently more than 20 municipal groups around the world participate in Connected Citizens.
“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.