What Is Waze and How Does It Work?

All about the free crowd-sourced traffic app

Waze is a community-driven GPS and navigational app that guides you through the shortest route possible while driving. It works on a smartphone and can help you find directions and avoid traffic jams. It provides real-time directions that are adjusted on-the-fly to account for various types of potential obstacles.

The Waze app is available for iOS and Android.

Waze app iOS

How Does Waze Work?

There are plenty of GPS-driven apps and software to choose from, including options that may have come pre-installed in your car's dashboard interface or on your mobile device like Google Maps and MapQuest. Most do a respectable job when it comes to step-by-step navigation. Some account for congestion and other factors that could affect your overall drive time.

Waze handles things a bit differently. It relies on the power of the people to steer you down the right roads. With over 100 million users sharing noteworthy information about what they encounter along the way, Waze stays constantly updated about anything that could slow your progress. Input from other drivers, known as Wazers, lets the app alert you to important items such as construction, police activity, accidents, and minor things to look out for like potholes and disabled cars on the shoulder.

Waze uses all this information seamlessly to predict accurate arrival times and tailor turn-based directions as you drive, helping you travel both city and rural roads with confidence.

The app is highly customizable, letting you select from a 2D or 3D display and from one of the dozens of voices across almost all popular languages. If you aren't satisfied with any of the voices provided, Waze lets you record your voice for directional playback purposes. You can also adjust driving preference, including avoiding tolls, highways, and other elements.

The Social Aspects of Waze

Waze is powered by the masses, and the app encourages social interaction beyond just warning others of a three-car pileup or hidden speed trap. By integrating with Facebook, you can choose to share your location with friends and view their progress if you're heading toward the same destination. This feature also helps you see if anyone you know is nearby.

You can send a message or a virtual beep of the horn to other drivers in the area, providing the ability to make new friends along the way.

The social nature of Waze can save you money, as its compendium of user-shared gas prices allows you to find the cheapest fuel in your neighborhood.

Improving the Urban Landscape with Waze Data

The information gathered by Waze has proven invaluable for drivers and for city planners, transportation departments, and first responders. Taking into account the volume of data collected on a daily basis, these organizations are able to work with Waze to design new infrastructure while avoiding congestion, plot the most efficient routes for incident response, and efficiently reroute traffic during fluid situations.

By using Waze, you're helping yourself and other drivers, and you might make a difference in improving how your city or town functions.

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