Authorities in Southern Shores, North Carolina have asked the crowd-sourced navigation app Waze to stop sending traffic through residential streets. The app does this to help users avoid traffic jams on the main roads. The problem with doing this is that it makes the roads near people’s homes too busy. The extra traffic in these quiet neighborhoods makes noise, pollutes the air, and can lead to accidents.
Officials in Southern Shores, North Carolina, tried to find a solution by closing some roads. However, this caused drivers to get stuck on other streets, which caused a lot of traffic. But the Southern Shores city council thinks it has regained control by passing a resolution that tells Waze to stop sending traffic to residential streets by taking these streets out of its routing system. Basically, this would keep people on the main roads.
Elizabeth Morey, the mayor of Southern Shores, met with two Waze employees through Zoom, and they agreed to make the changes once the resolution mentioned above is passed. Even though we don’t know all of the details, Waze has agreed to prevent drivers from “seeing where it’s faster to go through town streets.” This is likely to make Waze take out residential areas from its routing models, so drivers will have to stay on the main roads.
Since cars would stay on the same road, this could cause more traffic jams. Mayor Morey also says that switching to residential streets doesn’t speed up driving, but she didn’t give any data to back up this claim. According to the report, the mayor was probably just pointing out that the speed limits on residential streets are usually lower than those on major roads. So, drivers usually have to slow down when they are on residential streets.
Even though the Southern Shores, North Carolina, resolution seems to focus on Waze, it is not clear if it will be changed in the future to include other navigation apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps. Waze can be installed on both iOS and Android phones. It gives turn-by-turn directions in a number of voices, including the user’s own.