Community-based traffic navigation app Waze has been helping motorists get around traffic for almost a decade, and it is now partnering with the City of Toronto for more accurate directions in the region.
Toronto announced that it will be sharing its real-time traffic data through Waze’s Connected Citizens Program on Nov. 20, which will allow app users to better avoid things like road closures, construction, accidents, and traffic jams. There are more than half a million active Waze app users in the Toronto area.
“For the first time, the City is sharing its traffic data with Waze and Waze users. This partnership will give our traffic operations centre better visibility into traffic patterns and provide Waze users enhanced information to plan and adjust their commute,” Mayor John Tory says in a Nov. press release. “Over the last three years, we have finally focused on fighting traffic in Toronto and improving commute times. I am determined to build on the progress we’ve made and continue the fight each and every day.”
The partnership will go both ways. The app allows users to share comments and warnings anonymously about traffic situations in real time, like whether there are police waiting or an accident ahead, and other users see these as virtual markers on their map in a “personal heads-up” system. Toronto will be able to leverage these anonymous Waze driver and traffic insights to make “data-driven infrastructure decisions” and help city staff better respond to issues as they occur, it says in the release.
Additionally, Waze will help the city disseminate traffic and road closure information for major events, highway maintenance, and pilot projects, like the King Street pilot that was launched last week and will see the road between Jarvis and Bathurst closed to vehicle traffic in favour of bicycles and streetcars.
“Waze was founded on the belief that we can outsmart traffic together,” adds Mike Wilson, Waze Canada’s country manager. “Our partnership with the City of Toronto will empower drivers with real-time information on routes, traffic alerts and road closures to get them to their destination on time. Additionally, by leveraging Waze insights, the City will now have greater visibility into traffic patterns and will be able to make better planning decisions.”