The days of sending out crews to deploy traffic counting equipment to measure highway volume could be coming to an end as cities turn to apps like Waze.
The free, crowd-sourced navigation app offers constant traffic information to drivers as they head through town. But cities like Lousiville, Ky., have also started partnering with the company to capitalize on its wealth of daily transportation data. And from this data officials can pinpoint areas of congestion, as well as analyzing modifications to the roadway system, like lane reductions or traffic signal changes.
“So, really what we’ve been doing is trying to figure out ways that we can use this data to kind of help our current operations,” said Ed Blayney, an innovation project manager with Louisville Metro Government.
“We’re trying to do historical analysis, where we say, ‘Okay, a road-diet is going on in this part of town. Is that affecting congestion? Is it making congestion worse?,’ Stuff like that,” Blayney explained.
Louisville began its partnership with Waze, known as the Waze Connected Citizen Program, in August 2015, a process that Blayney described as “really easy.” At the time, the city had numerous downtown construction projects happening simultaneously, and officials needed a way to easily share information with motorists related to road closures and other problems.
“That was pretty much our goal,” said Blayney. “But when we joined the partnership, all of sudden we were getting this massive amount of data all the time … All of a sudden, we had real-time data around what was happening in our community, but didn’t have really the ability to handle it at that point. It was like a deluge of data.”
“So we started working with…