WAZE app to help ease Tampa area traffic congestion

WAZE partners with Hillsborough & Tampa
Posted at 3:55 PM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-07 00:17:31-05

For so many people, there's nothing more frustrating than being stuck in traffic. But now, the WAZE traffic appis partnering with the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County and the Metropolitan Planning Organization to ease congestion.

"It's a bottleneck," said one driver. "It's bad."

To combat this, thousands of people in the area already use WAZE to check traffic conditions and self report trouble spots.

Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization will provide WAZE information about school zones, posted speed limits, parking garage and where electric vehicle charging stations. In exchange, WAZE will offer continuous speed data, and show when congested, routing and road hazards.

'We can see where are the trouble spots, where are the areas that are most congested, what areas need the most help," said Guido Maniscalco, representative of District 6 on Tampa City Council.

The city and county plan to use this data to make changes to bad traffic spots. They also feel adding additional information to an app many residents already use will also help with the commute.

"Pre-planning," Maniscalco said. "Knowing ahead of time. Not just hitting a congested spot and being frustrated."

The MPO board believes this could have a huge impact on local drivers, after reviewing data from the partnership in other cities.

In Boston, the same partnership used WAZE data to identify locations with the most double-parked cars and issued 36 parking tickets to improve mobility in the urban core.

In Rio de Janeiro, officials utilized traffic and incident data from WAZE to identify its most congested roads during election days. During the next election, the city created additional transit resources and reported a significant decrease in heavy congestion. We could use this data to ease congestion on streets and figure out trouble spots.

For drivers who are constantly hitting the brakes and seeing red, the changes are welcome.

"You want to just find another way to you know, go around it," said a Tampa driver stuck in traffic on Dale Mabry.

"I think it would just make everything less stressful and honestly, more safe," said another driver.

The WAZE app is free and can be downloaded in the app store on both iPhone and Android devices.