“Hey Waze, tell me what’s new.”
The popular navigation app Waze has released a trio of new updates designed to help users make the most out of their daily commutes.
The first feature is a mode designed specifically for motorcycle riders that will give route recommendations based on data pulled from fellow riders. This data is more valuable than sourcing it from just cars, as motorcycles can often reach destinations quicker than a vehicle with four wheels. The update will add new routing information designed for narrow roads that only a motorcycle may be able to access.
There is also a hands-free “OK Waze” voice command being introduced in the U.S., U.K and Canada, which borrows from the “OK Google” command that activates the Google Assistant. Drivers can now request info or change a destination without looking away from the road or lifting a hand off the steering wheel. Users can say “take me home” or “find a gas station” and Waze will direct them. Resourceful drivers are even able to report bad traffic and road conditions with the handsfree request.
Finally, the last update is a first of its kind for any navigation app: carpool lanes. Routing will now include high occupancy vehicle (HOV) routes in 22 U.S. states as well as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. More cities will be added soon. The HOV feature will let Waze tell users how much time is saved on a trip if they used carpool lanes, perhaps in an effort to get more cars off the road. Users just have to update the fact that they are driving with more people in the car and Waze will direct them through HOV lanes.
This huge update for the Waze app comes on the heels of a recent announcement by the company that they are partnering with the city of Toronto to reduce congestion. The city will share traffic patterns and road data in an effort to reduce gridlock and improve city planning, while Waze will send accident and blockage reports to the city to help expedite updates regarding travel times.
Toronto is putting in some serious work to reduce traffic in the city, as they also recently unveiled smart traffic lights to lighten up congestion as well.
The partnership with Toronto is similar to ones Waze has agreed to with Montreal and other cities in North America.