Waze's real-time, crowdsourced info will soon do a lot more than help you avoid traffic jams. The Google-owned company is widening a partnership with Esri to provide its live alerts for free to American cities and municipalities that are part of its Connected Citizens Program. The move gives officials up-to-the-minute info they can use to make key decisions about road infrastructure. If many drivers report crashes at an intersection, that could lead to better signs or a change in the roads themselves.
It costs nothing for cities to sign up for the program, and they can start using the data right away. The live info should be helpful for cities that still rely on conventional resident feedback to make decisions. Instead of waiting months to gather enough feedback to take action, they may know a change is necessary within weeks or even days. This should be useful in the immediate future, but it could be downright vital in the long run as cities adapt to self-driving cars, EVs and other technology that might fundamentally change the layouts of urban areas.