Waze to Reimagine a City
The medieval port city of Ghent, in northwest Belgium, has been known for centuries for its castles, culture, and universities. But can you guess what it’s become known for in more recent years? It’s traffic (womp, womp).
With a partnership forged via the Waze Connected Citizens Program, Waze and Belgium set out to fix this. Because when we partner with the people that have the power to redraw the map, we can do more than outsmart traffic, we can eliminate it.
Through two-way data sharing — i.e. analyzing historical maps, traffic patterns, accident incidents, and many of the other alerts Wazers report daily — the Waze Connected Citizens Program and Belgium created an all-new city center for Ghent in what became one of the most audacious plans ever executed in the country.
The new city center, shown above, promises a safer, less congested and greener city. It is expected to reduce traffic by 40%, cutting down on accidents, car emissions, and improving the air quality in the city.
The transformation began with breaking out the medieval city center into different zones, which cannot be traveled between by car. Instead, to cross the zones, drivers must circumnavigate the city using an outer road. To make this change, along with other improvements, the redesigned city of Ghent underwent 14 permanent road closures, 80 directional road changes and 1,800 traffic sign changes on April 3rd, the official launch of the new map. And thanks to the Wazers of Belgium, Waze was one of the few maps that was 100% ready and 100% accurate from the beginning of the launch — now that’s a #WazeWin.
The Ghent map redesign is one of the Waze Connected Citizens Program’s may large-scale initiatives. Since October 2014, the free program harnesses real-time driver insights to help municipality partners improve congestion and rethink their map, globally. Want to learn more about the improvements fueled by the Waze Community and Waze Connected Citizens Program? Go here.
And for any Dutch-speaking Wazers, learn more about the Ghent redesign from local Belgian news station De Redactie.
The Waze Team