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Crowdsourced App Adds Ice, Unplowed Streets Alerts

The crowdsourced navigation app Waze has added new features that allow users to report unplowed streets and roadways coated with ice to government, subsequently receiving related notifications.

by Omar Abdel-Baqui, Detroit Free Press / December 13, 2019
Nathan Anderson/Unsplash

(TNS) — Crowdsourced navigation app Waze added a feature this week that could be useful to Michigan drivers and government agencies during the winter.

The new feature allows Waze users to report and be notified of unplowed streets and roadways coated with ice.

The concept was proposed by the Virginia Department of Transportation, a Waze partner. Robert Cary, deputy commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation, said the agency will monitor Waze, which is owned by Google, during snowstorms in order to ensure effective snow removal.

A Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Wednesday said the agency has shared news of the new feature with road maintenance crews.

Cary said the feature is "an exciting and innovative approach" that leverages already-available technology.

Although it will have some limitations, he added, the feature benefits drivers by letting them know which roads to avoid, as well as maintenance crews by alerting them of which roads need attention.

"It's pretty exciting to know we, a state government department, had a simple idea to make things better and it got implemented by an extraordinarily well-known, global platform with no cost to taxpayers," Cary said.

The new feature is now available in over 185 countries where Waze is accessible, and can be found under “Hazards -> Weather -> Unplowed Road."

©2019 the Detroit Free Press. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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