In a recent development, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has joined the Waze app.
Waze is a free and real-time crowdsourced traffic and navigation application supported by the largest network of drivers in the world. The move by the department to join this platform is part of a next generation traveler information system that is set to launch in 2017.
The Waze Application
Waze is a platform that brings a community of drivers and transportation experts together in one place. Their aim is to produce real time but anonymous information related to incidents and slow down warnings. The source of the incoming information is reliable given that it comes directly from the drivers themselves.
The Next Generation Information System by WisDOT
The program that is going to be launched this year by WisDOT is designed to provide deeper insights and safer roads to the community of Wisconsin. Through the Connected Citizens Program, WisDOT will be able to retrieve more information regarding real-time road activity. This will enable them to empower their partners with real-time driver insights. As a result, it will improve the congestion situation on the roads and enable the community to make well-informed planning decisions.
Through this new partnership, WisDOT will be able to provide Waze with real-time construction based on government reports, data regarding crashes and road closure information from the 511 Wisconsin.
On the other hand, the data from Waze will be integrated into the 511 Wisconsin website, www.511wi.gov, which is also being redesigned. The new version of the website will be online in spring.
The new design will feature more resources for the users. These features will include dynamic route planning, personalized camera feeds, real-time transit information, weather forecasts and events, and truck parking information. In addition to these new and better features, the data from Waze is expected to help users make better plans about what routes they take and reduce congestion in the metropolitan areas.
According to the State Traffic Operations Center supervisor, Paul Keltner, the partnership is an exciting development. He is of the opinion that physical detection of road incidents and conditions can be quite expensive. He further added that it is impossible to spread throughout the state. Therefore, according to him, this crowdsourced information will help the department provide context to why traffic has occurred and other specific incident reports. He refers to the partnership as invaluable.
The community of Wisconsin can greatly benefit from this partnership. Better route planning decisions will not only help personally but provide better road experiences for others as well. Congestion on busy freeways can be really frustrating and the partnership is an intelligent step towards battling it. The combined resources of Wazers and the WisDOT will help provide even better and stronger insights for developing route planning for commuters across Wisconsin.
The existing website and phone system of WisDOT have been active since 2004. In the years following, the system was expanded to include a smartphone app and Twitter feed. The partnership will strengthen the system further.