If you’ve driven in California before, chances are you’re familiar with Waze. The Google-owned community-based traffic and navigation app lets drivers share real time traffic and road information via their smartphones. Waze is demonstrating how private-sector crowd-sourcing can promote local government solutions.
In an article originally published on Data-Smart City Solutions, Noah Stern, a joint degree student at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School, talks about the App’s Connected Citizens program. Through this initiative, Waze partners with local governments to enhance mobility at no financial cost.
The partnerships are two-way exchanges of information. Waze shares data about traffic jams, automatically collected from drivers via the app, and also shares user-reported traffic issues, such as accidents and potholes. In return, partnering governments share information about road closures and traffic incidents, helping develop even better route options for drivers.
City and state governments can also save money by partnering with Waze. Collecting traffic data can be expensive, and although cities have road sensors and traffic cameras deployed on many major roads, covering every residential street can be a challenge. The Waze partnership can be an easy way for a department of transportation to expand its view of its roads and streets, completely free of charge.
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Contributor: Brian Stewart, Pepperdine School of Public Policy, MPP Candidate ’17.