Is a social media app the savior of Carmageddon? ABC 7 thinks so.

Our trusty 405 closure countdown clock tells me that it’s 9 days until Carmageddon… yikes!

While officials are recommending staying off the roads the weekend of July 16th, those who have no choice are looking for solutions to ease the misery. Metro has decided to offer free rides on 26 bus lines and the Red, Purple and Orange lines to encourage transit as an alternative – but for those who insist on driving the solution may be found in a social media app called Waze.

We briefly looked at Waze back in March when an interesting video visualization of L.A. traffic compiled from the app’s data was released. Now the app is back in the news thanks to the 405 closure. Local news network ABC 7 is promoting the app on their broadcasts and website as a way to best navigate around traffic on Carmageddon weekend.

ABC produced a segment on the technology, which you can view here, but this is how it works in a nutshell: drivers download the app and register as a user, the app then uses GPS technology to track a user’s driving speed and location and combines it with data coming from other users to create a real time picture of traffic conditions. The app then uses this live traffic data to generate the best route.

I’m not a driver so I haven’t tested the app on the road, but it has a slick 3D map interface and an average 4.5 stars (out of 5) on the Apple App Store. In addition to Apple, the app is also available for Android, Blackberry and Nokia.

4 replies

  1. Finally, an app that can the capacity of the roadway network. No need for widening projects.

    Real-time roadway network intelligence can inform driver behavior and help them avoid isolated bottlenecks, but it can’t really help increase capacity in a saturated network with few alternatives.

    However it will be much easier to implement a smartphone-based congestion pricing scheme, once everyone has a smartphone traffic app that is crowd-sourcing info on roadway conditions.

  2. Or finally another way to distract drivers as they captain 4000 lb death machines. More senseless maiming on the roads because people are too busy tweeting how sucky the 405 is.

    Nice of the “media” to help out the defenseless drivers.

  3. Now that I think about it the technology can be used to dynamically change the speed limit on any given road in real time. Imagine the app can capture the 85th percentile of all cars and set the speed limits. This will give drivers the freedom to go as fast as they want in real time. Of course the enforcement side of the equation can be handled by the technology too. Automatically bill a ticket to anyone who goes over the speed limit to the phone.

    Have we entered an Orwellian nightmare? 1984