This weekend, July 16-17, the busiest freeway in Los Angeles is going to be shut down for more than two days (53 hours, to be exact). Poeple are calling the event “Carmageddon”.
The 405 Freeway will be closed between the 10 and the 101 for demolition and reconstruction of the Mulholland Drive Bridge. Freeway ramps will begin closing at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 15, with lanes shutting down at midnight on the 16th. The 405 won’t reopen until 6 a.m. on Monday, July 18.
Luckily for drivers there is a new app that is hoping to ease drivers’ pain. Waze is a new, unique, real-time, GPS tracking traffic application designed to help driver’s get around traffic. In Los Angeles, the company says more than 180,000 drivers are using Waze. And the company is working with local transportation experts to better prepare for “Carmageddon.”
Waze is a social mobile app that provides free turn-by-turn, voice-activated GPS traffic tracking and navigation based on the live conditions of the road, while harvesting the traffic information that you’re providing. It blends real-time traffic information with the urgency of a social network. The more people that use the app, the better the information.
“Because the people input it, we know what’s going on on the road, we know about road closures, we know about exits not working, we know about signals not working, things that we can actually effect and improve people’s driving,” said Michal Roman Habdank, a spokesman for Waze.com.
When problems arise, Wazers file reports. Then Waze is able to suggest alternate routes, based on the information provided by its users.
“What we can do that’s different is show you stuff on arterial roads and show you what’s going on on Sepulveda and what’s going on on Pico or Olympic, and places that you’re not going to see otherwise,” said Roman Habdank.
As a Wazer, you can decide whether you want to keep your profile anonymous or provide your name and even photographs. On the Waze interface, your icon is visible to other drivers, but the company makes sure that your exact route is impossible to track.
As for safety, Waze does not allow drivers to enter text while the car is in motion. However, if you have someone else in the car to take pictures and report problems, you can set it to passenger-mode.
You can download the free app on a number of different smartphones, including iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Mobile. You can download Waze to your smartphone at http://m.waze.com/download.