Waze, the navigation app start-up Google acquired for about $1 billion last year, is working with local governments worldwide to exchange data about road conditions.
The iOS and Android app pulls data from drivers’ GPS chips and encourages them to report traffic jams, gas prices and obstacles to nearby drivers. On Thursday, Waze announced plans to incorporate additional data from governments and law enforcement agencies in cities including New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and Jakarta, among others. More than 80 cities and municipal groups applied to participate, but only 10 were initially selected, according to Waze.
These partners are expected to contribute to Waze input from road sensors, as well as road closure and incident reports among other public information.
Waze piloted a similar program in Rio de Janeiro last year, when the city government used Waze to monitor traffic conditions during a visit from Pope Francis; Rio de Janeiro’s traffic control center embedded the Waze application in its system so that incoming reports from Waze users were added to government data, culled from road sensors and traffic cameras.
“Road sensors and cameras are cost-prohibitive and can’t scale to every corner of our city,” Pedro Junqueira, chief executive of Rio de Janeiro’s Center of Operations, said in a statement. Waze could provide the “context of why traffic has occurred, in addition to specific incident reports,” he said.