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Toronto Fighting Traffic with New Waze Deal

The city of Toronto is entering a deal to share traffic data with the Waze app, in order to try and help motorists get around.

It's a match made in traffic heaven. City staffers provide information from its own real-time data about road closures, construction, traffic jams, and more. All of those traffic problems get posted to the Waze app for users to see. Users can then better avoid those hazards using directions from the app, improving traffic in the short term.

"Our partnership with the City of Toronto will empower drivers with real-time information on routes, traffic alerts and road closures to get them to their destination on time," said Waze Canada boss Mike Wilson.

The city also receives Waze user information. That lets the city see where people are going, how quickly they're going, and how they're getting there. That helps city planners better plan for changing infrastructure needs like changing traffic flow, adding roads, or adjusting lights to help make decisions that can improve traffic flow in the long term. It will also help notify motorists of planned closures in advance.

"This partnership will give our traffic operations centre better visibility into traffic patterns and provide Waze users enhanced information to plan and adjust their commute,” said Toronto mayor John Tory.

Waze has more than 560,000 active users in the GTA, so there will be lots of information shared. The app lets users report traffic slowdowns and obstacles in order to help other users reroute and avoid tie-ups. It gives real-time navigation directions that incorporate that data as well as other driver-centric info like fuel prices on their route. Adding more data from the city makes it easier for users to see where to avoid and where to go.

Toronto is the second Canadian city to partner with Waze. Montreal began sharing traffic data with the Google-owned company early last year. That one is a single-borough partnership on a 24-month pilot project. There, data is exchanged between Waze and the city's network of sensors that track vehicle flow and congestion.