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Waze's traffic data could help emergency services save lives

It's teamed up with Europe's Emergency Number Association to help it detect and respond to incidents in real-time.
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The Washington Post/Getty Images

Soon, Waze data will not only help drivers avoid accidents, but help emergency responders identify them as they happen. The Google-owned navigation service has partnered with the European Emergency Number Association (EENA) to anonymously share data that will help police, ambulance and fire services detect and respond to incidents in real-time, potentially saving lives in the process.

The process is simple: as soon as European users notify Waze about an accident, emergency services will receive a notification in their system. They can then choose to provide data to other Waze users in the area, which might include additional details of the accident and potential delays. Response teams can also call on Waze's real-time traffic data to plan the most effective route, especially if roads in the affected area are blocked.

"Waze has always been about connecting people with each other to improve the quality of their driving experience," said Adam Fried, Waze's Head of Global Partnerships. "We are excited to expand this community to emergency first-responders and see how Waze data can help them optimise their route planning and contribute to public safety."

Waze has announced a number of similar partnerships over the past couple of years. It's working with the city of Boston to deliver information on expected road closures from travel authorities while feeding city's Traffic Management center with data that helps adjust signals at intersections to improve the flow of traffic. Other cities involved in the pilot include Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, Jakarta and Tel Aviv.

With representatives from over 1,200 emergency services across 80 countries, the EENA can make very good use of Waze's data. The organization has already partnered with DJI to supply "carefully selected" teams of European pilots with Phantom and Inspire drones, helping first responders to react quickly to risky incidents.

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