Apps & Software

Google and Winnipeg to enter agreement to allow tech giant to track traffic in real time

The city Winnipeg could play a significant role in the deployment Google-owned traffic app, Waze.

Reports indicate that the tech giant has made an agreement with the city that would allow it to collect traffic data in real time. Waze is a traffic and navigation app acquired by Google back in 2013, though the app’s unique crowdsourced functionality is kept separate from Google Maps for the most part.

While Google Maps looks like a traditional map, Waze leans more towards a social network where drivers can share information about accidents, police officer locations, road closures, etc.

When the company was acquired by Google in 2013, the Israel and Palo Alto-based developer of the free mapping and turn-by-turn navigation app, had over 50 million users. Since then, Google’s intentions for the mapping service have been unclear.

Winnipeg city officials are reportedly seeking council approval to give Google permission to access information about traffic accidents, lane closures, congestion and other hazards, reports the CBC.

Transportation manager Luis Escobar is proposing a one-year deal that can be renewed automatically or cancelled by either party. There are no known financial implications associated with the agreement.

“Waze differs from traditional GPS navigation software in that it is community-driven: gathering complementary map data and traffic information from its users. Like other GPS software, it learns from users’ driving times to provide routing and real-time traffic updates,” wrote Escobar in a report that came before city council’s public works committee this past Monday. 

Waze already accesses information from Montreal, Los Angeles and other North American cities. In April, Montreal became the first Canadian city to share its traffic data with Waze.

Related: Google could be turning Waze into a ride-sharing platform