Boston Partners With Traffic App Waze, Will Test Giving MBTA Signal Priority

A screenshot of Waze’s live traffic map of Boston.
A screenshot of Waze’s live traffic map of Boston.

Boston is partnering with the Google-owned traffic app Waze to share data that could improve traffic flow in the city, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Friday. Waze crowdsources traffic data and provides live updates on jams, accidents, and other issues.

As part of the partnership, the city will send Waze information about expected road closures, construction, and other public projects, and the app’s information will be aggregated and shared with Boston’s Traffic Management Center (TMC), which adjusts the city’s 550 signalized intersections for traffic flow.

Boston was one of the first 10 data-sharing partners with Waze, along with Barcelona, the State of Florida, and the New York Police Department, according to an October announcement. The data from Waze is already being used to help the TMC determine signal timing, according to a press release.

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Priority for MBTA?

The release also stated that the city is looking into traffic signal prioritization for the MBTA along key routes and how it would affect traffic. The Waze data lets the city measure impacts on traffic speeds when MBTA vehicles are given priorty at traffic lights.

The ride-hailing company Uber announced last month that it will also share anonymous trip data with Boston, which includes information such as trip location, distance, time, and date. Earlier this month, Walsh announced Boston Snow Stats, a website that lets users see what percentage of the streets in a neighborhood have been plowed, as well as the number of miles plowed and the total hours spent plowing.

Disclosure: The brother-in-law of Boston.com reporter Eric Levenson is a part of this city project.

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