In an effort to help motorists better navigate traffic congestion, the City of Princeton entered a partnership with Waze, the world's largest, crowd-sourced, traffic navigation phone app.
Through the partnership, the City provides Waze with advance warning of road construction and closures. This enables Waze to better help motorists avoid road issues and reach their destinations easier. The City gets access to real-time issues reported by users as well as traffic jam information for all roads in Princeton.
How It Works
Waze, a Google-owned smartphone app, monitors traffic in real-time with the help of its users. As Waze's users (called "Wazers") drive from one place to another, the app tracks their speed and location. This information flows up to Waze where it is processed in real-time. When a Wazer asks for directions from the app, Waze uses this real-time information to plan the best route possible from one place to another.
Under Waze's Connected Citizens Program, cities like Princeton add planned road closures, construction, and even major event information into Waze to help Waze provide users with warnings of traffic jams and road hazards on their route.
In return for participating in the partnership, Waze provides access to the "alerts" that are created by users (like locations of accidents, potholes, and icy roads) to the City. The City then takes this information and, in real-time, is able to respond faster to issues than it could before. The City also gets access to the "traffic jams" that Waze detects on the City's roads which help the City's traffic engineers better understand where issues exist on roadways over time, and in areas where no sensors exist.
Princeton has posted road construction, road closures, and special events on the City website and on social media in the past however the partnership with Waze gives the City a much broader audience to share that information with, including the motorists that don't live in Princeton and only drive through the City to their destinations.
The City can utilize Waze's push notification system to send out warnings and traffic alerts. Waze traffic data will expand the City's ability to monitor traffic in areas currently unmonitored, a feat that would cost the City millions of dollars to replicate with traditional sensors. Waze-generated traffic data also will help transportation planners better understand traffic patterns, which allow them to make more effective road improvements.