2011-07-06

Co.Exist

Carmageddon's Hollywood Ending? Crowdsourcing Will Help L.A. Survive Sans 405

Next week, a major L.A. highway will close for two straight days. Traffic app Waze is offering its user-generated traffic information to the city's TV stations in hopes of easing congestion and attracting new users.

Think driving in Los Angeles is bad now? Just wait until July 15, a day that is being labeled "Carmageddon." That's when the entire 405 freeway shuts down for construction for two days—an event that will affect 500,000 angry drivers. Enter Waze, the crowdsourced navigation app that might just save Los Angelenos from tearing their hair out (and wasting gasoline while stalled in traffic).

The app, which has 4.5 million users in 45 countries, allows users to enter real-time road reports in exchange for credit in the Waze community. During Carmageddon, Waze is teaming up with local news station KABC Channel 7 to offer on-the-air updates for drivers looking for alternate routes. "We'll be giving the realtime citizen perspective on all detours, not just ones that the city provides," says Di-Ann Eisnor, the VP of platform and partnerships at Waze.

Waze already offers real-time updates on Israel's Channel 2, the country's biggest news network. Members of the Waze community can sign up for a "Channel 2" group, and the network will contact them if they are within the vicinity of an event and there isn't a journalist on the scene.

Waze's partnership with KABC is a one-off thing. And while most drivers won't be watching network news while trying to navigate through traffic, the on-air exposure means Waze could gain plenty of new users—and that could ultimately mean more accurate traffic reports in L.A. and beyond.

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