FDOT partners with Waze to provide real-time traffic app

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Driving in Florida is about to get just a little easier.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has entered a data-sharing partnership with Waze (www.waze.com), a free navigation app that uses real-time information from a community of millions of drivers to outmaneuver traffic.

FDOT and Waze will cross-license traffic data to each other to enhance the ability to provide needed traffic information to Florida motorists.

Waze is a smartphone app that connects drivers to one another, creating a series of local driving communities to improve the quality of daily driving. It includes timesaving information such as police traps or new routes to shaving time off regular commutes.

The FDOT will share with Waze traffic incident and road closure data, and the app will have access to agency data, specially packaged to help local partners by proving addresses and other information.

“As we saw during the recent heavy flooding in Florida’s panhandle, up-to-date traffic information is vital to letting the public know what roads and bridges are open and closed during a weather emergency,” said FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad in a statement. “This data sharing is another example of a public-private partnership bringing together infrastructure experts and technical experts that will greatly benefit motorists.”

After typing in a destination, Waze users drive with the app open while it passively contributes traffic and other road data. Motorists can also take a more active role by sharing road reports on hazards, accidents, police traps and other information, giving other drivers in the area a ‘heads-up’ about what is ahead.

Florida DOT will be sharing road data, addresses and other essential information with the local communities of Waze users, which use a group of online editors to ensure area maps are continually up-to-date.

Applauding the move is Sen. Jeff Brandes, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee.

“I recognize how important it is to move our citizens and visitors safely along Florida’s highways,” the St. Petersburg Republican said. “FDOT’s symbiotic partnership with Waze places us at the forefront of innovation and enables us to use real-time data in our transportation decisions.”

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.