Governments Can Now Use GPS Data from Waze To Resolve Traffic Issues

GPS data

Governments Can Now Use GPS Data from Waze To Resolve Traffic Issues

900 714 Admin

By Florence Broderick, Solutions Marketing Senior Manager, Carto 

Traffic congestion is one of the biggest problems facing today’s cities, posing a serious challenge for traffic managers and urban planners. Accelerated population growth means that the number of vehicles in cities are growing exponentially. Municipal leaders need to understand today’s connected commuters when coming up with innovative solutions to fix a complex problem like traffic congestion.

CARTO Traffico, the latest (as of the time this article was written) location intelligence solution is a simple solution built to help cities and local governments address the urban mobility challenges using crowdsourced data.

CARTO Traffico makes it easy for cities to integrate crowdsourced GPS data from Waze, open data sources, and more traditional traffic data streams, to gain real-time mobility insights. The app also allows traffic managers to analyse real-time and historical city data made available through the Waze Connected Citizens Program.

CARTO has joined the Waze Connected Citizens Program, a partnership resulting in a data exchange, which empowers local leaders to confront traffic-related issues with real-time, anonymous location data provided by drivers themselves.

Until now, it has been tough for cities to find intuitive ways to bring together real-time crowdsourced data with existing data streams from different city departments, all into one single interface. However, with Traffico, city operations managers and urban planners can share a single resource to find insights that allow them to:

  • Identify city locations with high volumes of short trips and/or circuitous routes. These are areas where new infrastructure projects could reduce congestion if public transportation were more accessible or if more direct routes were available.
  • Determine when repair and maintenance work for transportation systems will cause the least disruption. This can be done by running origin-destination analyses with GPS data and sensor data.
  • Provide transparency to their citizens about where and how infrastructure investments are reducing traffic congestion in their cities.

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • CARTO Traffico’s participation in the Waze Connected Citizens Program
  • How the solution works with new data streams
  • What services this new location intelligence solution provides city and municipal leaders
  • Why Traffico is redefining what it means to be data-driven in the city of Madrid!

CARTO Traffico and the Waze Connected Citizens Program

Personal navigation apps have come under fire for displacing rather than solving traffic congestion. Drivers looking to avoid delays end up taking a detour through residential areas — which are not built to carry high traffic volumes.

Unfortunately, this commuter-centric approach to traffic management has caused unintended problems such as delayed incident response times to residential areas because of unexpected traffic congestion.

It is true that navigation apps have led to a behavioural change in citizen transportation. However, it is also true that traffic managers and urban planners can glean unrivaled insight into mobility patterns by working with location data from these apps. This data can help them better understand and prepare for the impact that these behavioural changes can have on their cities.

RelatedThe Power of Location Intelligence in Retail and Real Estate

The Waze Connected Citizens Program (CCP), launched in 2014, adopts a community-centric rather than a commuter-centric approach to addressing today’s mobility problems. The two stated goals of the programme are:

  • To get Waze-reported incident data into the hands of government officials that can address the reported incidents, be it a five car pile-up or a pothole.
  • To give Waze drivers the best real-time, location-based information on what’s happening on the roads.

Today, the CCP has over 600 partners whose work has improved living conditions for more than one billion people in cities around the world. When we came across the CCP, we saw a unique opportunity to partner with an organisation that has the same ambitious goal to use mobility location data to improve cities across the globe.

Using GPS Data in CARTO Traffico 

Traffico’s open-source technology enables a two-way data exchange that integrates data from city-specific APIs, with crowdsourced GPS data from the Waze API. The result is that it presents both a real-time and historical view of mobility patterns. This allows Traffico to give new levels of interactivity and higher granularity compared to other more traditional traffic management solutions.

Two Views

Using Traffico’s real-time view, local officials are alerted of reports from drivers on traffic jams, accidents, warnings about possible hazards, construction work, road closures, and other city events.

The street-level view extracted from anonymous GPS data is then aggregated, analysed, and visualised by administrative boundaries to measure citywide traffic impact levels, road service levels, and various travel alerts.

Using Traffico’s historical view, local officials can better understand behavioural changes in transportation in past seasons or during specific events. The solution can be set to analyse a specific period of time, calculating the average rush hour duration, start and end time, a ranking of the worst dates within a time period, and even the worst day and time of the week for commuting can be determined.

These KPIs can be customised to align with the goals of an individual city’s congestion strategy. Each city can then track the success of measures taken to reduce citywide disruptions — caused by scheduled maintenance of public transit systems or infrastructure.

The City of Madrid Takes CARTO Traffico for a Test Drive

The United Nations predicts that nearly 65% of the world’s population will reside in cities by 2050, and this urban migration is likely to cause the amount of motor vehicles on the road to surpass 2 billion cars and increase air pollution by 8 percent. In cities like Madrid, however, these effects are already being felt today.

In December 2016 for instance, the City of Madrid became a trailblazer, issuing what would become the first of many traffic bans that forced half of the city’s 1.8 million vehicles from the roads after air quality sensors reported dangerous levels of air pollutants produced by daily commuting.

This innovative approach to reducing both traffic congestion and health risks caused from prolonged exposure to air pollution, has been matched with the City of Madrid’s innovative approach to analysing traffic data as well.

This is why the City of Madrid will be the first city in Europe to use Traffico to drive decisions on when, where, and for how long to restrict the flow of traffic in and around the nation’s capital.

We couldn’t be more excited for Madrid, our company’s original hometown, to take Traffico on its maiden voyage. Their efforts of doing so will showcase how location intelligence solutions enable a more innovative approach to mobility planning.

Article first appeared on the Carto Blog.


Lava Labs brings together innovation and technology, combined with expertise and deep understanding of businesses and their needs by engaging with industry leaders to empower organizations. We specialize in building custom web and mobile applications in Malaysia and around the APAC region.