Thanks to navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps, GPS-enabled smartphones are changing the way we drive. It’s much easier to avoid a traffic jam or to find the closest gas station than it used to be. However, as many urban and transportation planners know, these apps have negative consequences.
When navigation apps route drivers through local roads in residential areas, they introduce congestion, air pollution, noise, and safety issues to streets that are designed for much low traffic volumes. The so-called “Waze Effect” is wreaking havoc on residential neighborhoods in all types of cities, especially during rush hour. It’s not only major metropolises such as Los Angeles, CA and Boston, MA that are impacted, but also smaller communities such as Fremont, CA and Takoma Park, MD.
So, what can transportation planners do about it? One way is to use the very data that smartphone apps create to your advantage. In this article, I’ll share four steps for cities to fight the Waze Effect with Big Data.