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Waze holds data-driven initiatives to help users during COVID crisis

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Image shows a drastic drop in drivers on the road in Manila from March 1 to April 9 due to the COVID-19 crisis and the Luzon enchanced community quarantine. Source: Waze Data, 2020

Navigation platform Waze has activated its community and network of partners across its Volunteer Communities, Waze for Cities programs, and more, to support its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an advisory released last April 16, Waze announced its initiatives to help its users during the present crisis.

Waze Map Editors and Waze Crisis Response team are currently working with more than 50 countries to add region-specific relief efforts including road closures, red zones, and more, to its map.

In the Philippines, Waze has added COVID-19 Reference Laboratories in Metro Manila, Baguio, Cebu, and Davao to its map. As a result, Waze users can now locate the nearest medical testing center by typing ‘COVID’ or ‘covid’ in the destination search bar.

To constantly encourage users to take precautions and follow local guidelines during the lockdown, Waze has also installed a “Luzon Quarantine” notification. It will appear every 24 hours on-screen on the app to remind Luzon-based users that during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), travel is allowed only for buying essentials or if they work in an important industry.

Waze has also launched a COVID-19 Landing Page, asking governments around the world to contribute data on locations of medical testing centers and emergency food distribution centers to help improve its maps for users. Once the data is received, Waze will validate and add the details to the map, and then inform drivers accordingly.

The platform has also begun providing support for drive-through and curbside pickups with new Location Personalities badges and search features. These intend to help users with minimal contact access to Waze’s partner products, such as food and other essentials, while remaining compliant with social distancing guidelines.

Waze is also open to assist businesses who need to update their information. They can update on their own through a few simple steps or contact Waze’s support team for help.

Drop in driving

Waze’s current initiatives are driven by the data it got from weeks upon the onslaught of the pandemic, which the platform finds helpful for users to plan their drives more effectively.

Waze data showed that across the world, most countries have dramatically stopped driving. Globally, it was found that Waze users are driving 60% fewer kilometers compared to the February daily average within February 11 and February 25.

Parallel to the global trend and with the ECQ measures in place, Waze users in the Philippines are also found to be driving significantly less (88% fewer kilometers) compared to the same February daily average.

“Despite the overall decrease in the number of people on the road, there are still essential journeys that need to be made, such as to purchase food and other necessities,” Waze added. – A.B. Conoza

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