Caltrans closures and other data about road conditions around the state will be shared directly with operators of the Waze navigation app, transportation agency officials announced Tuesday.
The data will fill any gaps that exist in information already shared through partnerships with the city of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, according to Meghan Kelleher of Waze.
In exchange for the data, Waze will share with Caltrans the reports about road hazards such as potholes and collisions that are contributed by its users, under an agreement between the two parties.
Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said the partnership will benefit motorists around the state.
“Combining the real-time anonymous data from Waze, sourced from drivers themselves, with Caltrans’ vast network of traffic management systems is a win-win for California drivers,” Dougherty said.
The information from Waze could provide “insight on traffic patterns” and aid the department’s “future planning,” according to Matt Rocco of Caltrans.
Data from Waze could be incorporated into Caltrans road conditions map at quickmap.dot.ca.gov, Rocco said.
Paige Fitzgerald, who leads Waze’s partnership efforts with cities and transportation agencies, said the app’s users already report Caltrans-related road closures, but the partnership means Waze will now get official information about closures in advance and be able to notify drivers about them earlier.
The partnership also means that other types of data, such as speed limits, could be added in the future. They have already rolled out a speed- limit reminder feature in Europe and Latin America, Fitzgerald said.
“The Connected Citizens Program is a natural evolution for Waze as we already enable and empower drivers and are now bringing entire cities that same level of connectivity,” she said. “The immense data Caltrans can contribute to the Waze app makes them a valued partner moving forward.”
Waze reports that it has 1.7 million active users a month in the Los Angeles area who provide upwards of 2.5 million pothole and accident alerts.
–City News Service