Waze — An App to Improve Traffic in Sacramento

Waze is a traffic and navigation app that is crowd-sourced and aimed at making the daily commute to and from work easier. The recent Google purchase has opened up to all nine counties of the Bay Area as well as Sacramento and Monterey as of early February of 2017. Unlike Lyft or Uber, this service limits its drivers to two trips, essentially to and from work and area residents are hoping it will have a positive change on traffic and eventually curb environmental issues.

They ran a test of sorts, a pilot program, for several months beginning in 2016, part of which included partnering with several regional employers to promote the carpooling service. The app pairs users with others who live in the same area and work in the same place or places close to each other.

Using the app is simple. You are required to upload a photo, link to a LinkedIn or Facebook profile, and provide an email address and a credit card. Currently, the cost is 54 cents per mile, which is the IRS reimbursement rate for business travel by car, making this option cheaper than a cab or any other ride sharing company fee. As of yet, there is no revenue for the company but that will surely come soon.

The app not only reduces the amount of traffic on the road, but warns others on the road what lies ahead. Drivers and riders are encouraged to share traffic conditions and road information in real time to improve navigational advice to others on the app. Currently, there are approximately 900,000 users in the Bay Area. They are already developing software to use the app with self-driving cars. Eventually, there will be no driver and the hope is no accidents either.

Also unlike traditional ride sharing like Uber and Lyft, Waze aims to help riders with long commutes as opposed to just a mile or two as with the others. Filling the vehicles with as many people as recommended will keep the roads clearer and hopefully, less cars to get in accidents.

Riders and drivers of the service use different apps. Those who ride, download the Waze Rider app while drivers pick up their riders with the main Waze app. According to the U.S. department of Transportation, only 10% of the population currently carpool to work.

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