The city of Toronto has begun sharing its traffic data with navigation service provider Waze. Google-owned Waze will also provide access to its real-time traffic and road conditions data back to the city, in exchange, and both parties expect to improve navigation around the city thanks to the new collaborative effort.
Waze offers turn-by-turn navigation to users and drivers, compiling up-to-the-minute traffic, weather and mapping data thanks to crowdsourced user input. It also offers a Connected Citizens Program, which works with municipal governments and transportation agencies to exchange data in arrangements like this new one with Toronto to help expand its available data pool, and in turn inform city systems with real-time user reports.
Toronto hopes that it'll be able to be more responsive to real-time incidents affecting travel times and traffic in the city thanks to the benefit of real-time reports – it also believes that the app can help it inform residents more effectively of planned events including major road closures and experiments like the King Street pilot program it just launched, which turns the major downtown road into a mostly car-free zone.
The city of Toronto also recently entered into an agreement with Waze parent Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs to develop plans for a smart city site on Toronto's undeveloped downtown Portlands region. In general, Toronto and its current political leadership seem eager to embrace and explore potential technological initiatives, and the Waze partnership is just the latest example.