County council follows Transport for London in using phone app to provide real time data on traffic movements
Oxfordshire County Council has become the second UK authority to sign up for use of the Waze mobile app in collecting data on traffic movements.
It has followed Transport for London (TfL) in becoming a Connected Citizens Partner (CCP), using the two-way data exchange in an effort to reduce short term congestion and support planning.
Finlay Clark, UK head of Waze, told UKAuthority: “We see it as giving the council access to real time data on traffic speeds, accidents and disruptions, while it is giving us details on plans for construction, events and hyper-local issues that we can feed back to our partners.”
Drivers can download the app free of charge. When turned on it makes their location known to the council traffic management system – although the data is anonymised – which can assess the volume of traffic in different areas and send warnings to avoid those that are congested.
They can also provide alerts of disruptions through tapping on the screen or a voice recognition function.
Oxford County Council’s Councillor David Nimmo Smith said: “The arrangement with Waze is one of a number of things that Oxfordshire County Council is doing to help people to travel more efficiently using up to date information.
“For many years we have hosted the BBC’s traffic and travel reporter so that listeners can tap into the information that we receive and process through our urban traffic management control system.
“Now that information will also be available via Waze to people via the smartphone app. The link up with Waze is about having more enriched data to enhance the quality of data we push out to road users and manage the transport network.”
He added: “This project with pave the way for other innovative data sharing projects that can help enrich the knowledge that Oxfordshire County Council have on the transport network, enabling us to manage the network in the most efficient way for people traveling to and around Oxfordshire.”
Clark said there is a lot of scope for experimentation in how to use the data, with different authorities running a variety of projects, and that they are able to learn from each other.
“For example, we’ve seen the CCP platform used to report potholes and support road maintenance. There are a lot of things you can do with it,” he said.
He added that about 175 authorities and 70 million people around the world are now using the app.