VENTURA, Calif. – The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved the County’s Information Technology Services Department partnership with Google and its “Waze Connected Citizens Program.”
Waze is Google’s navigation service which provides real-time traffic incident, road hazard and road closure information generated by drivers and is one of the most widely used navigation programs in the US.
The Connected Citizens Program offers a free two-way data exchange between Google and government organizations to collect and analyze data to improve drive times, maintain roads and make better-informed planning decisions. All the data exchanged is statistical, no personal or other restricted information is shared.
“Collecting traffic data can be expensive,” said Chief Information Officer Brian Ganley. “Instead of using County staff or contractors to collect this data, Waze can report user-reported traffic and road information, including traffic jams; accidents; hazards; construction; potholes; stopped vehicles; objects on the road; and missing traffic signs, all completely free of charge.”
The partnership benefits the County by giving it the ability to make better data-driven infrastructure decisions; improving safety for road workers, first responders and the public; and providing an analysis of average drive times, driving speed information and traffic volumes. This in turn assists in planning and scheduling County road work.
“Our County is working to continually enhance services through the effective use of technology,” said County Executive Officer Mike Powers. “Our partnership with Google is a perfect example of integrating government with services the public already uses. It leverages existing technology and services to quickly provide value to county residents and visitors.”
The Waze app attributes partner-supplied data directly within the application, so users know they are receiving trustworthy information and that the County is actively involved in making the community safer and easier to travel in.
Eventually, the County’s first responders would also be able to share information that could help reroute drivers in the event of an emergency resulting in a road closure.