VDOT teams with Waze to share data in effort to reduce roadway congestion

Waze partners with VDOT
Waze gives its users the ability to report real-time traffic incidents on the road. (Justin Belichis)

A two-way data share between the Virginia Department of Transportation and the crowd-sourcing traffic app Waze was launched Monday. The partnership hopes to reduce roadway congestion throughout the Commonwealth, according to a VDOT news release.

The collaboration is facilitated through Waze’s Connected Citizens Program, which has relationships with 105 international government agencies including the District Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the city of Boston.

“We’ve seen the city of Boston use our data to determine light signal changes throughout the city,” Waze spokesperson Meghan Kelleher said in an interview. “They were able to reduce congestion by 18 percent, month over month, at key intersections and the busiest part of its downtown.”

Kelleher also said Waze partnered with Rio De Janero during the Olympics and reduced morning congestion by 24 to 27 percent on average using its data.

A Waze Connected Citizens Program case studies presentation says it also aims to reduce emergency and crisis team responses, managing gas shortages and use data to guide policy. The case study shows that 70 percent of accidents are reported by Waze users about five minutes before emergency response is contacted.

VDOT information and combined with incidents reported by Waze users could also give both parties better insight on planned construction, roadway closures, accidents, floods, parades, marathons or anything that could cause delays on the road, according to its website.

“Technologies and methods of receiving and sharing information continue to evolve and transform significantly,” said VDOT commissioner Charles Kilpatrick in a news release. “VDOT has provided traveler information to Virginia’s citizens through our 511Virginia program since 2005, and we welcome this partnership with Waze to provide the best information possible to travelers.”

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