Google-owned traffic and navigation app Waze has recently released a solution for a ‘Hyperlocal Driving Challenge’ as it’s referred to on Waze’s blog post. In rush hour situations drivers might tend to stress out as to whether they should turn or go straight. Especially when this quick decision making involves crossing multiple lanes of traffic. To solve this problem Waze added a new feature ‘difficult intersections’.
‘Difficult intersections’ when turned on will attempt to steer the driver clear of stress-inducing or less-than-safe routes and intersections whenever possible. The feature will attempt to balance ETA while avoiding difficult intersections.
Waze will create a route in which the driver will have as few unwanted intersections as possible while trying to avoid adding on too much travel time. Waze phrases their decision as such; “The goal of the feature is to reduce the amount of these intersections, not completely eliminate them.” If bypassing the unwanted route will add too much travel time, drivers will still be navigated through difficult intersections.
In order to determine which routes were seen as problematic and stressful, Waze worked with local map editor and employee community. The company also reached out to the city to understand the driving issues from a municipal perspective.
The “Difficult Intersections” option will automatically be turned on for Waze users in the Los Angeles area, however can be switched off in settings. This feature is currently only available for those in the Los Angeles region, however it’s supposed to make its way to New Orleans soon, and globally “as needs are identified by the Waze Community”.
The Customer’s Experience
This update shows Waze’s concern for it’s users and community. Reducing a consumer’s stress levels is certainly important. At the same time Waze has to be sure that its users will not experience too much added travel time, which is one of the concerns i’ve heard voiced over this update. However, if a user is concerned about travel time, they can simply turn this feature off. For drivers that are constantly stressed out by driving, Waze might have just made their experience just a little bit less stressful.