Waze, an Israeli mobile satellite navigation application, has revolutionized driving.
(photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
Israeli-founded GPS navigation company Waze is not content with only outsmarting traffic jams – now it wants to eliminate those traffic jams altogether.
Alongside the company’s well-known free navigation app – which some 100 million drivers use to avoid traffic jams – the company provides a carpool app that enables commuters to find rides with other local app users in a further effort to reduce traffic.
Launched initially in Israel, the company’s carpool app is now available in Brazil and since Wednesday, across the United States after a testing period in several states.
“If we make a slight adjustment to our everyday behavior, like giving a ride to our neighbors in our empty car seats, instead of driving alone, we can make traffic a thing of the past for everyone,” said Waze CEO Noam Bardin, announcing the launch on the company’s website.
“Our vision is to reverse the negative trends in traffic now by using the Waze platform, our data, and our unique ability to connect everyone sharing the road, to share their empty car seats,” Bardin said.
Waze is targeting individual users, workplaces and local authorities to advance the company’s carpooling vision. Individual Waze app users can join the carpool app as a driver or rider, or both, and share their commute with other riders traveling in the same direction.
Workplaces can also team up with Waze to encourage employees to travel to work together. Waze is offering a month of free rides for all employees of businesses that adopt the initiative.
Finally, Waze is encouraging government officials to limit single occupancy cars by introducing congestion pricing and regulations that promote carpooling.
According to a Waze study published last week, 49% of Israeli drivers said they would be willing to travel in a carpool with two other individuals to reduce time sitting in traffic jams. A total of 79% of Israeli drivers said traffic is their greatest cause of everyday stress.
“In the past we wanted to bypass traffic jams. Today, it’s more about reducing and eliminating them,” Waze vice president Fej Shmuelevitz told The Jerusalem Post
last week. “The only way we think this is possible is by reducing the number of cars, and the way we can do it is by carpooling, matching riders and drivers.”
“Just like Waze, which started in Israel and expanded to the rest of the world, the carpool app has the same concept,” Shmuelevitz said.
Waze was founded in 2006 as FreeMap Israel by entrepreneurs Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar and Uri Levine. It was acquired by Google for approximately $1 billion in 2013.
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