Iowa DOT Joins Waze Connected Citizens Program
AMES, Iowa, Aug. 17, 2015—With historic amounts of road construction happening on Iowa’s highways this summer, knowing where traffic is moving and where it is not can be critical to travelers.
To increase the amount of real-time data available, the Iowa Department of Transportation has announced a data-sharing partnership with Waze (www.waze.com). Waze, is a crowdsourced navigation smartphone app that uses input from the world’s largest community of drivers to report and avoid many types of traffic disruptions.
As part of this new program, this week the Iowa DOT launched a new Waze layer on the 511 traveler information system available through websites, phones and mobile apps. This layer shows Iowa DOT filtered crowdsourced data from the Waze data feed that might impact traffic (e.g. traffic jams, crashes, closures, objects on the road, heavy fog, etc.). The icons representing these traffic impacts will have a white background and a blue circle around the icon. When a user clicks on the icon, more details will appear regarding traffic impact and indicate the information is reported by the Waze app.
Sinclair Stolle, from the Iowa DOT’s Traffic Operations Office, said, “Every second counts. If we can get this information out to the public as soon as possible, they can make more informed decisions about their trip.”
This mutually beneficial partnership is part of the Waze Connected Citizens program. The program allows a government agency to get access to Waze publicly available crowdsourced traffic data at no cost. In exchange, the Iowa DOT provides Waze with access to the agency’s 511 traveler information data feed. This data exchange helps to promote greater efficiency, deeper insights, and safer roads for travelers in Iowa.
Public input is the critical element to the success of this program. Travelers, either while stopped at a safe location or posted by a passenger, use the Waze app to report incidents and observations along Iowa’s highways.
The more Waze users – known as Wazers – post to the app, the more useful the information is to others. Iowa currently has approximately 5,000 active Wazers in the Des Moines area and tens of thousands of Wazers statewide.