In Praise of Waze

September 25, 2014 — by The Social Clymer



In Praise of Waze

September 25, 2014 — by The Social Clymer

What a morning.  Here in DC it’s raining off and on, but consistently drizzly.  There’s something about precipitation here that drives down motorist IQs by about 50 points.  Even the threat of precipitation can drive down IQs by 30 points.  So, I knew I was in for a rough ride today.

Typically, my 12-mile commute takes about 30-40 minutes.  That’s given moderate traffic.  On great days, it can be as short as 20 minutes.  On the worst days, it can be hours – and I mean hours – like three or four.  So, when the rain starts to fall, you know you need to buckle in and be prepared for the worst.

The radio and all of my traditional GPS tools were telling me that my commute was going to be about an hour and 45 minutes today.  Ugh.  That’s not how I like to start my days, especially days that are already looking very busy.

Then, I remembered my Waze app.  Waze had been recommended to me by the gridlock tested and hardened people of Los Angeles last year when I was out there doing some meetings.  Waze is a GPS/traffic app that works on more of a social model than others.  Individual users point out traffic concerns, accidents, police presence and even stop light/speeding cameras.  More from the folks at Waze…

Waze is all about contributing to the ‘common good’ out there on the road.

By connecting drivers to one another, we help people create local driving communities that work together to improve the quality of everyone’s daily driving. That might mean helping them avoid the frustration of sitting in traffic, cluing them in to a police trap or shaving five minutes off of their regular commute by showing them new routes they never even knew about.

So, how does it work?

After typing in their destination address, users just drive with the app open on their phone to passively contribute traffic and other road data, but they can also take a more active role by sharing road reports on accidents, police traps, or any other hazards along the way, helping to give other users in the area a ‘heads-up’ about what’s to come.

In addition to the local communities of drivers using the app, Waze is also home to an active community of online map editors who ensure that the data in their areas is as up-to-date as possible.

So, I fired it up.  I got three recommended routes.  Two of them were each over 1:45.  The first, though, said 40 minutes and had street names that seemed like an insane route.  I figured I was in for an adventure either way, so why not!

I’ll be darned if I didn’t end up getting to the office in about 38 minutes.  Like I said before, that’s why I can expect on a good day.  To pull that off on a bad day, well that’s just amazing.  (I just can’t bring myself to say a-waze-ing.)

I’m looking forward to making Waze a regular commuting companion and doing my best to contribute to its social-based traffic recommendations.

Thanks, Waze. You got me into work early enough that I was able to write this post!

Have you used Waze?  What have your experiences been like?

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