Waze partnering with governments to share traffic data

Crowd sourced traffic app Waze has just announced “Connected Citizens,” a partnership with government departments in ten major metropolitan cities with whom the company will share information and in return, receive information on outages, road works and other similar traffic inducing incidents that it can use to better inform its users and improve their travel times.

The idea stemmed from a call that the Waze team received in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy when the White House needed data on which petrol stations were open and turned to the app’s crowdsourced data to find it. The now Google-owned company helped the government deploying aid and its community of users in finding the best routes through the chaos and thus the Connected Citizens program was born.

The data is exchanged in real-time between Waze and its partners to make it as valuable as possible for both parties. And for its part, Waze will only be sharing anonymised data to protect the identities of all of its users which is fantastic news for a post-Snowden society in which users are generally fearful of governments being able to track them. In fact, the only data that Waze is even sharing is public alerts, such as accidents and closures with its head of growth Di-Ann Eisnor stating “We don’t share anything beyond that, such as where individuals are located and who they are.”

The first ten partners in the program 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 – USA
  • The New York Police Department (NYPD) – USA

Along with the ten initial partners Waze has already received over 80 applications from municipal groups around the world to join in the data sharing program but Waze has already indicated that it will only accept new Connected Citizens partners who “prove their dedication to citizen engagement and commit to use Waze data to improve city efficiency.”

[Source – The Next Web, Image – Waze]


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