Transportation Department teams up with Waze on new safety initiative

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The Department of Transportation (DOT) is teaming up with the popular navigation app Waze on a new initiative designed to make the nation’s roads safer, the agency announced Monday.

The DOT is launching two pilot projects that are aimed at integrating traditional crash data with crowd-sourced traffic data that can be more quickly collected and analyzed.

The goal of the new approach is to gain better insight into how to decrease fatalities on U.S. roads, which have been climbing at historic rates in recent years.


“Advances in data science have the potential to transform the Department’s approach to safety research and provide insights that can help improve highway safety,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement.

One pilot program will combine traffic crash data with Waze’s crowd-sourced data on road hazards and traffic conditions. The map app, which calls itself the world’s largest “community-based” GPS system, provides navigation and traffic updates by using real-time data from users.

The DOT will explore whether the crowd-sourced traffic data can be used as a “reliable, timely indicator” of traffic crashes and crash risk.

Under the other pilot project, the DOT will analyze anonymous data from GPS-enabled devices on the prevailing operating speeds of vehicles traveling all across the nation’s highway system. The DOT will examine how speed interacts with other roadway characteristics to influence the likelihood of crashes.

“Every year speeding is a contributing factor in traffic fatalities, and in 2016 10,111 roadway deaths involved speed,” the DOT said.

Tags Elaine Chao Road safety Traffic accidents Waze
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