We’ve all been stuck in traffic. Sometimes it’s the expected rush hour queue. Other times it seems random, when the only reasonable solution is to stick your head out the driver’s side window to catch a glimpse of whatever is causing the delay. No matter the reason, Waze, our pick for “App of the Week”, aims to make navigating the streets (and traffic pitfalls) easier. And though it isn’t a new app, Carlos, one of our lead software developers, argues it’s the best turn-by-turn GPS application on the market.
The idea behind Waze is simple: everyone on the road contributes alerts, speeds, and other data, so that real-time traffic information is available to all the users. According to Carlos, “that’s the best part of the app: the collaboration between drivers.” You see a construction zone? Lane closure? Speed trap? Report it quickly on the app and every other user can benefit from your experience. And when you’re out on the road and need to know which routes to avoid, Waze will fill you in with all the crowdsourced data from other users.
Here at EDC, our staff uses Waze for:
- Traffic jams: “You see more than traffic, and everything is in real-time,” says Carlos. “The app also makes it very easy to find another route if necessary.”
- Summer road closures: We’re constantly under construction in the DC Metro area; Waze gives you a heads-up and makes it easier to find the best detours.
- Location sharing: Carlos often uses Waze to let people know where he is. “When I am meeting up with friends, I can share my location with everyone quickly through the app.” You can also use this feature to quickly tell colleagues or customers (via the app, text, Twitter, etc.) when you’ll be arriving at your destination.
- Pothole alerts: This blogger has seen, reported, and avoided potholes that would swallow a straight truck.
- Cheaper gas: Users can alert other drivers to gas prices in the area. Waze provides a clear list with pricing and directions.
I should also mention that although EDC staff are safe, law-abiding drivers, we’ve heard it also provides drivers with alerts for speed cameras, red-light cameras, and police activity.
Waze’s founders first launched the app back in 2008. Since then it has grown considerably, now being used in over 50 countries worldwide. In 2013 it was purchased by Google. If you are a Google Maps user, you may notice the occasional Waze data within your navigation screen. But if you want to provide reports, or view information about construction, road closures, or police/speed cameras, you’ll have to use Waze. It’s free and currently available for: Apple iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry 10.
This post is part of a series that features our staff’s favorite mobile apps. Want to see how estimators can use Waze in conjunction with EDC’s new estimating application? Sign up for launch updates at www.EDCUS.com/mobile and we’ll keep you in the loop.
Lead image via PicJumbo. Screen images and logo via Waze.