By Dani Simons, Head of Waze Public Sector
After months of staying home, Indonesians are getting back on the road as the country transitions into the new normal. With businesses suspending their work-from-home policies, many employees have returned to the daily commute, causing a spike in traffic across many cities including Jakarta. However, traffic control systems in these cities are fairly limited, making it difficult for authorities to thoroughly manage traffic in their respective areas. Officers are deployed on foot, monitoring traffic by checking road footage and calculating the volume of vehicles.
Leveraging Data for Mobility Solutions
As a community-based navigation platform, Waze offers many solutions that are designed to outsmart traffic. One such program is Waze for Cities – a two-way data share of publicly available information that utilizes mobile technology and crowdsourced traffic data accessible via Google Cloud. The free program pulls real-time, anonymous incidents and slow-down information directly from driver reports to help municipalities and first responders improve their existing city infrastructure.
Supporting nearly 1,800 global partners, Waze for Cities data can be used to track and analyze patterns in municipalities with the highest traffic jams. After identifying the traffic patterns and behaviours, partners can act on their policies and better manage traffic in their cities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected numerous aspects of our lives and forced us to adjust our regular behaviors to fit the new normal – and the way we travel is no exception. By providing real time insights on what is happening on the road, as well as information on road closures in neighborhoods, Waze can help authorities find better concrete solutions to adapt to the current mobility patterns.
Assisting Authorities in Mitigating Challenges
Both Jakarta Smart City and Jabar Digital Service are two examples of partners that leveraged Waze for Cities data to understand and measure the success of their traffic policies. When COVID-19 originally struck in March, Jabar Digital Service, a Service Centre of Digital, Data, and Geospatial Information operating under the West Java Government, employed Waze data to gauge the PSBB policy’s success in Bandung, West Java. The program was activated to
determine the policy’s impact and track community compliance and results were presented to the respective Regents/Mayors.
Meanwhile, Jakarta Smart City (JSC), which operates under the Jakarta government, used Waze’s real-time driver insights to evaluate Jakarta’s odd-even traffic policy, observe the Department of Transportation’s semi-automation of traffic jam points and locate routes that are not covered by the MRT network. JSC identified and recommended areas that TransJakarta or other public transportation systems need to reach, optimizing safe public transport options during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, our data insights provided both partners with an imperative resource, enabling them to manage congestion as they received information on the increase and decrease in ongoing traffic trends.
Supporting Cities in Times of Crisis
Beyond local initiatives, we’ve enacted global responses to help municipalities react fast to the spread of the pandemic. With movement restriction measures now put in place worldwide, Waze for Cities – through its Crisis Response team – has helped numerous cities across the US, Brazil and Asia overcome unforeseen situations. For instance, we launched a COVID-19 Landing Page asking governments around the world to contribute data on medical testing center and emergency food distribution center locations to help improve our maps for users.
Today, our team of Map Editors supports over 70 countries – including Indonesia – to provide information on region-specific relief efforts on the app, such as road closures, red zones, testing centers, and locations to find emergency food resources. Over 130 referral hospitals in Indonesia have been added to the Waze map, which can be found by typing several keywords, such as “COVID”, “covid”, “coronavirus”, “corona virus”, and “rumah sakit corona” in the destination search bar.
In just under a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended almost every aspect of our lives. With a world in flux, residents need regular, up to date information from their governments and businesses to understand the status of their local routes and favorite local businesses. By continually empowering our partners with powerful data insights, Waze hopes to remain at the forefront of vital crisis response methods while helping pave the road to recovery.