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Boston tackles gridlock with Waze data

Boston tackles gridlock with Waze data

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is continuing to take steps to ameliorate the sometimes discouraging traffic conditions within his city. Walsh announced a data-sharing partnership with the mobile traffic application Waze, which lets users see real-time traffic flows based on crowdsourced transportation information.

The city’s partnership is expected to help relieve traffic in two ways: more users will have access to information about road closures, and the Boston Traffic Management Center (TMC) will be able to use transportation data from Waze to better organize the city’s traffic flow–  including coordinating traffic signals more accurately. Boston has already been using data from Waze to supplement information received from hundreds of intersection cameras to help coordinate traffic signals.

This spring, the city will pilot several new approaches, such as evaluating traffic signal prioritization and its effectiveness along key routes. The city receives aggregated traffic speed data from the over 400,000 Waze users in the Boston area, which will allow it to measure before and after impacts on traffic speeds along targeted corridors.

The partnership with Waze follows the city’s earlier announcement to partner with the popular rideshare application Uber.  The Uber deal called for the ridesharing company to provide the city with its quarterly trip logs, which include time stamps as well as pick-up and drop-off data, distance traveled during trips and the duration of trips. The city plans to use this data to help its transportation system run smoother.  

“This partnership will help engineers in the TMC respond to traffic jams, accidents and road hazards quicker,” Boston’s Transportation Department Commissioner Gina Fiandaca said of the city’s new partnership with Waze. “And, looking forward, the Waze data will support us in implementing – and measuring the results of – new congestion management strategies.”  

Posted by Mark Pomerleau on Feb 17, 2015 at 1:14 PM


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