The number of Waze users continues to increase in Canada, with the user base having doubled in size every year since 2015, the company tells The Globe and Mail. In the Greater Toronto Area alone, there are 400,000 active users.
Waze uses algorithms, real-time social media info and GPS to provide the best routes for drivers to avoid areas where there are traffic jams, constructions and more. The city of Toronto recently partnered with the company to battle traffic congestions, thanks to the latter’s massive information base.
“Waze is basically processing billions of data points every second to give you the most optimized route, based on real time information,” says Mike Wilson, country manager for Waze, to the Globe. “It’s commuters helping commuters.”
Despite the success of Google-owned Waze, some note the app could be another distraction while driving.
Teresa Di Felice, director of government and community relations with the Canadian Automobile Association Club Group, says “It has the potential to add another layer of distraction.” But she also agrees there are benefits, saying “Rerouting people doesn’t always save time, but it does keep people moving so that they’re not frustrated sitting in traffic.”
Waze has been criticized for turning some quiet residential streets into busy shortcuts, as the app reroutes drivers to optimal directions to save time.
Last year, Montreal was the first Canadian city to exchange traffic data with Waze, which was acquired by Google back in 2013.
Are you using Waze while you commute in the car?