Oxfordshire County Council teams up with Waze to help drivers avoid traffic hotspots


With the aim of reducing the cost of congestion in the UK, which amounts to around 2-4% of GDP in lost time, wasted fuel and increased business costs*, Oxfordshire County council and Waze, the free, real-time crowd-sourced sat nav app, are teaming up to improve urban mobility.

Oxfordshire is a growing county - 85,000 new jobs and 100,000 new homes are forecast for the county up to 2031 meaning that long term solutions are needed to meet the demands of the future.

The city of Oxford itself is also experiencing growth in housing and business with flagship developments such as the £500m Westgate Centre set to add even more draw to a place which already boasts a busy shopping area, business and tourism.

With average car speeds in city centres continuing to slow to as little as 7 mph (the average speed of traffic on A202 in London, the slowest traffic corridor on the worst day/hour **), addressing all causes of traffic congestion can help to combat potential increasing costs to the economy and worsening air pollution.

Oxford has already seen a number of major transport schemes being delivered with work being done by the county council on the historic Frideswide Square, A40 to the north of the city and an expansion of its park and ride at Thornhill. A new railway station, Oxford Parkway, also opened last year meaning quicker and easier journeys from and to London.

However Oxfordshire County Council sees physical transport improvements as being part of the picture and work has been going on for some time on harnessing data to make for more efficient travel.

Following in the footsteps of Transport for London, Oxfordshire County Council is today announced as the second UK Connected Citizens Partner (CCP) with Waze. In a bid to speed up journey times and ease up traffic hotspots, CCP is designed as a free, two-way data exchange that empowers municipalities to harness real-time driver insights to improve congestion and make better-informed planning decisions. As a result, one of its 147 global partners in Boston, US, has successfully reduced emergency response times by four minutes. Here in the UK, the hope is to catch congestion before it gets into Oxford and direct people to the most effective and efficient routes into town. 

Oxford County Council’s Cllr David Nimmo Smith said: “We are very excited to partner with Waze to identify incidents and congestion hotspots in real-time, thus allowing users to make more intelligent journey choices.

“This project with pave the way for other innovative data sharing projects that can help enrich the knowledge that Oxfordshire County Council have on the transport network, enabling us to manage the network in the most efficient way for people traveling to and around Oxfordshire”

Finlay Clark, UK head of Waze says: “Waze is delighted to enter into this free data share alliance, which involves us sharing anonymised aggregated data from our navigation app with Oxford Council.  This a genuine partnership where everyone benefits; whether it's the council analysing our traffic jam data to determine city planning, or using Waze to inform local drivers of critical information about major construction projects or road closures which might impact local driving, the end goal is to reduce congestion in the area.”

*(source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance, McKinsey)

**(Source: INRIX 2015 Traffic Scorecard, TomTom Travel Index 2016)