US: navigation apps are being employed by cities to help fight congestion, parking issues image

Bundling traffic and finding a free parking spot have become major issues for motorists in almost every city – with the impact on consumers, particularly younger ones, of major concern for automakers.

But the issues could be fought, or at least alleviated with the assistance of some clever technology companies – for example the city of Boston, which has a lingering problem with double parking on the city’s narrow streets, has partnered with Waze. The well-known app-based GPS system which delivers real-time traffic updates from users is usually used to help commuters navigate city traffic, but the stored data is now used by the Boston municipality to curb the most annoying factor in the city’s slowdown – car double-parking. A team of officials from the ity’s Transportation Department, the Department of Information Technology and Boston’s New Urban Mechanics group used three months’ worth of user-reported data to discover the streets most likely to have double-parked and illegally standing vehicles.

“Double parking isn’t just annoying, but it also creates congestion and potential safety concerns for cyclists and pedestrians,” commented in a YouTube video Greg Rooney, director of parking management. “It’s important just to keep traffic flowing, for public safety reasons and just for quality of life.” The city itself has been sharing real-time traffic data with Waze since February, when Mayor Martin Walsh announced a partnership. For the areas identified with the most illegal parking, additional parking enforcement officers were dispatched to make sure those cars would move out fast. Through the partnership, Bsoton’s 400,000 Waze users received real time traffic conditions like accident reports, road closures and potholes, while the Boston Traffic Management Center received useful info such as traffic speed data.