July 29, 2015 | By: Brittney Kohler

Traffic jams and project backlogs aren’t problems that will be going away any time soon as the Highway Trust Fund is once again headed towards insolvency. However, in spite of a lack of federal support for better transportation networks, some innovations are propelling transportation into new areas and changing the game as we know it.

The prolific growth of rideshare services as well as the accompanying user apps are revolutionizing the transport industry. Rideshare platforms, like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and others, are connecting riders to drivers through new technology platforms. Perhaps more importantly, cities and states are forming productive partnerships with these services for data-sharing which could shape the future of transportation.

Here are two #GameChangers that are worth knowing:

Crowd-sourcing traffic app aids transportation agencies

Waze is rapidly gaining popularity as a navigation and “traffic avoidance” app, using real-time traffic and construction information to recommend the fastest route to your destination. Waze works using a crowd-sourcing functionality, meaning that it depends on users to report and verify traffic incidents and other scenarios that could slow down your trip.

There are side benefits to this data-rich app for local and state transportation agencies, and Waze has begun no-cost data-sharing agreements with at least 30 public sector partners. Waze offers anonymous traffic data via a live feed in exchange for information from the agencies such as construction closures that will improve the accuracy of their app information for travelers. Local transportation agencies in Los Angeles are getting creative with the uses for the data, including using the app to report and respond more rapidly to potholes and rerouting buses based on real-time information.

 

Uber Partners to Help Cities – Boston, MA

Uber has proliferated across U.S. cities, dispatching cars owned and operated by practically anyone. Waze Connected citizens Program is increasingly gaining popularity as the “traffic avoidance app” that provide live feed of traffic incidents and road closures with drivers and government partners.

Uber’s technology reduce traffic congestion, as an immediate transportation option with a GPS installed map on every app. Not only that, Uber’s Zip Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) keeps track the traffic flows in the city with traffic volume counts and the speed of traffic. On second week of January, 2015, Uber announced the first of its kind partnership with the city of Boston to provide traffic data from dates and times of trips, zip codes, distance traveled and trip’s duration. Boston is planning to use this information to manage traffic congestion, evaluate the impact of incidents, and zone changes to parking spots.

The city of Los Angeles are partnering up with Waze Connected Citizens Program, and will be using its crowd-sourcing functionality to respond immediately to live road conditions.

The cities’ data-sharing partnership with transportation applications will commit to traffic planning and congestion reduction.

Every day, new Infrastructure #GameChangers are changing how we build and use infrastructure.  ASCE collected these game changing trends in energy, freight, transportation and water infrastructure into an interactive, web-based report at ASCEGameChangers.org. Find out more here, share these trends on social media using #GameChangers, or submit your own #GameChangers project!

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