Working Together to Help Communities Navigate COVID-19

Published in
4 min readApr 15, 2020


Waze Crisis Response supports non profits, volunteer map editors, and public agencies

As soon as the COVID-19 outbreak began spreading around the world, we activated our community and network of partners across our Volunteer Communities, Waze for Cities programs, and more to support crisis response. Through the collaborative work of our community and public agencies, COVID-19-related information and critical locations have been added to the map, making it even easier for drivers to navigate their essential journeys.

Important Data for Essential Drives

Our aggregated, anonymized data can help cities and citizens better understand COVID-19 traffic and congestion trends in their area. It probably comes as no surprise that our data shows people around the world have stopped driving in dramatic numbers over the last months. Waze users globally are driving 60% fewer miles compared to the February daily average for a two-week period (2/11/2020–2/25/2020).

Average daily percent change in driven miles; March 1, 2020-April 10, 2020

When we look at the data on a country-level, we see the earliest traffic patterns change in markets where the COVID-19 outbreak occurred first, with other countries following.

Percent change driven miles by day: United States, Malaysia, France, Spain, Italy. March 1, 2020-April 10, 2020

In Italy, one of the first countries to be significantly impacted by the outbreak, driving has dropped more than 90%.

Percent change in driven miles by day in Italy, March 1, 2020-April 10, 2020

Despite the overall decrease in drivers on the road, it’s clear there are still essential journeys that need to be made every day. While our data helped us to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on traffic patterns all over the world, it was our community and partners who helped us identify what kinds of information would be most helpful on our maps.

How the Waze Community is Helping

Our maps are maintained by a global community of more than 30,000 monthly active Map Editors. This passionate community came together in February with our Waze Crisis Response team and are currently supporting 58 countries (and counting) with region-specific relief efforts. Their work has ensured our maps stay up-to-date with road closures, red zones, and more, so that drivers can safely get where they’re going.

We also know that access to necessities like food during this time has been a challenge, so we’re partnering with WhyHunger and No Kid Hungry to add more than 30,000 emergency food distribution locations to the U.S. map, and we’re eager to collaborate with even more partners around the world.

In an effort to bring even more useful information to users, we reached out to our 1,400+ Waze for Cities public sector partners who already work with Waze to gain insights to manage traffic and infrastructure. And now, we’re broadening our network and inviting all public agencies to share information through our COVID-19 landing page. This site allows local governments to get the information residents need around road closures, medical testing centers, food distribution locations and more, onto our map.

Waze Crisis Response includes exchanging information across Non Profits, Public Agencies, and Volunteer Map Editors.

Supporting Local Businesses

Based on the needs of our advertiser partners, we have quickly rolled out a new feature to identify locations with drive-thru and curbside pickup to let users know where they can access products such as food and other essentials, with minimal contact. With Location Personalities, businesses can use unique badges to clearly show that they offer alternate pick-up options, while drivers can easily search, filter, and navigate to these locations and remain compliant with social distancing guidelines. Businesses who need to update their information can do so in a few simple steps or contact our support team for help.

Supporting local businesses with unique badges to clearly show pick-up options, including drive-thru and curbside pickup

How can you help?

The more up-to-date the map, the more drivers we can help, and the more people we can keep safe. If you are part of a government or local authority, please share information on the locations of medical testing centers, emergency food distribution centers, and road closures.

Thank you for being a part of the Waze Community and for trusting us to help you navigate these challenging times. We hope to see you on the roads again soon.

For additional information, please reach out to

Visualizations built with Data Studio.