The crowd-sourced navigation app Waze has had quite a year in 2019. First, it brought the voice of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster to its turn-by-turn direction service. Now, as winter starts to throw some nasty weather across many parts of the U.S., Waze is adding an important feature that will report icy road conditions and unplowed roads to help keep drivers informed and safe.
Waze developed the app update as part of its Waze for Cities Data program, and in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), as a way to help drivers stay safe in ever-changing weather conditions. And on its end, VDOT can use the data collected from Waze users to improve its own wintertime operations.
“We value our partnership with Waze, and look forward to monitoring the real-time reports on road conditions and determining how best to incorporate the data into our future operations,” VDOT chief deputy commissioner Rob Cary said in a press release.
After testing the program in Virginia, Waze knew this service would be useful for the app’s 130 million users across the country.
“Our work with the Virginia Department of Transportation on the development of the ‘Unplowed Road’ feature perfectly exemplifies what can be accomplished when we collaborate with public sector partners to meet community needs,” Dani Simons, head of public sector partnerships at Waze, said in the press release.
The new feature is already included in the updated version of the Waze app. When using Waze, drivers will see a snowflake icon on their display with “unplowed road” written beside it to indicate poor driving conditions ahead.
Additionally, if drivers see an unplowed road that has not been reported, they can also report the hazardous conditions for others to see.
So, make sure your smartphone apps are up to date and get ready to hit the road safely!