What I expect Waze to become
I am from Costa Rica, so traffic jams are an everyday nightmare. You could seriously wake up from a dream if it’s about the traffic here. We have too many cars for a very inefficient road system, an accident on any side of the capital can be reflected as a blood red grid in the Waze map all across San José.
When I bought my first car, I immediately ordered a car holder for my phone, and I have driven with Waze ever since. I know that a ten minute drive can become an hour drive if there is any unexpected event on my usual route.
Waze has done an amazing job getting drivers to be on time at their destinations, and they have partnered with the authorities to make available this information for the government. Now an officer can be dispatched where they know the traffic is piling up. But what’s next for Waze?
I let Waze drive me because I know I will get the best route, but what if everybody let Waze drive them as well? Waze has information of all roads in real time, what if they avoid a traffic jam before it is even formed? Waze could send people on different streets without making them waste much time. I don’t mind getting a minute late if I’m contributing to the other drivers. One minute here, one minute there and soon enough it will cause an impact on the main roads.
Let’s go beyond that, let’s just not focus on the information that we have in real time, but the information from the past, can a pattern predict if I will be late? What if we use more than the pattern: a holiday is coming up, how is the traffic going to increase near the malls the day before Christmas? What about new year? You know everybody will be driving after midnight. What if it is a payday on a Friday night? There is a soccer game of the main teams in the country, is everybody leaving work early or are they staying at their jobs to watch at least half of the game?
Integrate weather forecast, traffic slows down when it is raining. Integrate events information, how bad can the traffic be near the stadium the day Metallica plays? Well, the answer is kinda obvious, pretty bad, but how long really is it going to take for you to pick up your kids from the concert? I’m sure you would love to know.
Authorities that have partnered with Waze can provide information about road work or closed streets, can this information with enough anticipation could give better intelligence to calculate routes? There is only one way to find out, trying it.
Imagine if you could put something on your calendar for next week, and now instantly your ETA for that specific location, including your weather forecast, the average number of accidents you may find on your route that day and the roads that aren’t closed right now, but will be the day of your appointment.
As our Waze friends say all the time, that would be a real #WazeWin for me!