City of Denton partnering with Waze app to provide live traffic updates

The city of Denton has partnered with the GPS software navigation app Waze Navigation and Live Traffic, allowing drivers to receive live updates on traffic and construction disrupting users’ routes.

Waze is free to download on your phone’s app store and is similar to Google Maps. You don’t have to live or commute through Denton in order to use the app either.

It’s simple: once you download the app, enter your destination (a physical address) and Waze will give you the directions for your intended route as well as live road updates.

“What we did as a city was partner with them [Waze] so that we can upload construction information and traffic information so that it populates on the map and you know if there are any delays, detours or anything like that,” said Stephanie Yates, marketing and outreach coordinator for the city of Denton.

Denton “constantly” feeds information to Waze on a data spreadsheet and this is what sends updates to drivers, letting them know what they can expect on their commute, she said. On the app, users also have the option to input data to help other drivers using Waze in the area.

“If there's a down traffic light or if there’s an accident, they can input that into the app and it will populate for other people that are using the app in the same area,” Yates said.

22-year-old Preston Lawrence said he likes the city’s new partnership with Waze because it gives him different routes his iPhone’s maps app doesn’t use.

“I think Denton working with them will be great, and maybe they’ll start having even more alternative routes to use when traffic is bad,” Lawrence said.

Users can also get “emergency information” on the app such as shelters, restaurants and gas stations nearby, Yates said. You can select the option you want and your route and timeline will update accordingly.

“It’s really intuitive as far as thinking about what people would need on their commute to work or something like that,” she said. “If you have a gas station you want to stop by, you can see that as an option to select on the app.”

Though the app is on your phone, users are still not allowed to use their cell phones while driving due to the 2017 Cell Phone Ordinance, prohibiting the use of any handheld devices in the state. To abide by the law, users must have their phone mounted in the car when in use.

Dalia Esparza said she uses Waze on most of her drives when she doesn’t know exact routes to places. She also uses Waze to see what the traffic is like in different areas.

“I commute from Mansfield to UNT,” the 27-year-old said. “So I always double check it before leaving home to see if there are any accidents and if traffic starts to slow down I turn it back on to see where I can change my route.”

Ezparaza was not aware of Denton’s partnership with Waze and said she thinks it’s great because of all the construction projects within the city.
“It’s always a pain when there’s accidents but Waze has helped me plenty of times,” she said.

Header image courtesy of Unsplash.

Header by Kylie Phillips.