Everybody hates sitting in traffic, especially me, so when I found out about this app that helps avoid the jams, I was ecstatic. If you were out in the city in your car over the long weekend then I’m pretty sure you'll be interested in trying it out. Called Waze, this mobile application will not only help you steer clear of any road congestion but also save you money on fuel as a result.
Waze has been around for a while, thus it’s tried and tested in the market. Plus the fact that Google were interested enough to buy it (and now run it) is even more reassuring for drivers. The cherry on top of the cake is that it's free to download too.
Perhaps not a concept that's ground-breakingly new, it is something that I believe can really help many Australian’s get around town in a timelier manner. I know what you’re thinking, Google maps also shows me traffic and ways to circumvent it, but the fact is that the Waze app does it so much better. Google Maps simply relies on traffic data, but what Waze does is rely on both data and user's input. The app will notify you when traffic is at a standstill up ahead as well as make a note of police sightings, accidents, speed cameras, debris and more.
To put this into perspective, Sydney drivers spend on average 4 days per year stuck in traffic. A study conducted by GPS company TomTom says that Sydney is the most congested city in Australia and the 21st most congested city in the world. On certain days, for every 30 minutes spent behind the wheel, 24 minutes were spent in gridlock. TomTom’s analysis also revealed that full-time employees in Sydney who commuted to work for more than 10 hours per week in the decade up to 2012 rose from 22% to 29%. That’s equal to three weeks a year spent sitting in traffic travelling to work. The cost of wasted fuel across Australia as a result of sitting in traffic is equivalent to $2,217 per household per year.
If you have searched for apps like Waze in the past then you would have come across an array of options, most of which likely only possessing a small number of active users. Waze on the other hand holds the record for the worlds largest community based traffic and navigation app.
Become a member of the app and you can also contribute to the community by warning everyone about sudden traffic jams, accidents and much more. Utilising GPS, the app will also notify you of your speed and warn you if you are breaking the speed limit in your current zone.
The app does require some interaction so in an ideal situation pass it to your co-pilot and allow them to navigate the traffic for you. Otherwise a phone holder can be used if you are travelling alone but be careful and do not break the law. Taking detours through suburban areas to get to your location quicker at first may seem unnatural, but the app does work very effectively, you simply need to trust it.
The interface isn’t as good looking as Google maps, but this is something we expect to be improved once Google roll out a couple of updates. However, in the mean time it doesn’t take long to feel comfortable with the layout and it can save you money on fuel.
What Not to Expect
Waze will not help you with public transport because you cannot change the route that one of these vehicles will travel. If you plan on walking then Waze can't help you here either. The best app for this type of travel is CityMapper.
Overall, when I first heard about the app I was sceptical because I didn’t believe an app could do something better than Google Maps. Secondly, I thought there is no way that this app will work in Australia, it’s most likely a USA based app (considering the size of the community), but when I found it was actually more useful than Maps for navigating traffic in Australia I was over the moon. Notifications when I am speeding have been one of the biggest money saving aspects of this app for me so far.