On Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke of the partnership between the city and the Waze traffic-avoidance app, which functions by allowing drivers to share information regarding traffic and the conditions of streets on which they travel. Last week, Garcetti announced the partnership in his State of the City address, and on Tuesday he added that the 1.3 million Waze users in Los Angeles will receive alerts about hit-and-runs and abducted children, as well as information involving construction, film shoots, and road closures, according to the Los Angeles Times. In return, the city will glean data from drivers in real-time regarding traffic patterns and roadway conditions.
Kali Fogel, Metro’s congestion reduction manager, told Southern California Public Radio that getting information from drivers could make buses more efficient, as drivers could report when an accident was holding up traffic. She stated, “We can look at that incident and possibly reroute our buses and change where bus stops are located, The information that Waze provides is so comprehensive in the region, it would allow for that.”
Garcetti pointed out that the new data gleaned from drivers could make street-sweeping and garbage pickup routes quicker, as the city could reroute its workers in case of a jam. He added, “Or more dramatically, if there’s a hit-and-run accident we can make sure that we know about that, push that information out, and then maybe even apprehend the suspects more quickly.”
Metro first discussed a deal with Waze in October, joining ten city governments in Waze’s Connected Citizen program. In some instances, cities installed Waze on its vehicles to report potholes.
The new arrangement has raised privacy concerns. However, any data submitted by drivers is anonymous, according to the company.