Creating shared value: Oxfordshire County Council joins forces with Waze to enhance mobility
2/3 March 2017: Oxfordshire County Council today announces a new partnership with Waze, the crowdsourced traffic and navigation app where drivers share real-time traffic and road information via their smartphones. The region marks the first in the UK outside of London (TfL – October 2016) to join the Waze Connected Citizens Program (CCP): a free, two-way data exchange empowering municipal decisions to achieve concrete community impact.
Launched in October 2014 with 10 city partners, CCP has expanded to more than 175 partners including city, state and country government agencies, non-profits and first responders. With collaborations already underway in places as diverse as Rio and Boston, CCP is driving transport innovation forward on a global scale to facilitate urban mobility. So far, this data share has proven to decrease emergency response times and emission rates by X%, through rerouting over X million people around traffic amid some of the busiest road networks on earth.
The Oxfordshire City Council and CCP partnership is mutually beneficial. Waze provides real-time, anonymous, proprietary incident and slow-down information directly from the source: drivers themselves. Partners provide real-time and advance information on government reported construction, crash and road closure data. This sets the scene for working in a different way and looking to different data sources to provide more accurate travel planning data, in turn reducing congestion.
The council are keen to combat heavy traffic congestion in and around the city, the little parking available (which inhibits city centre business activities) and develop its underperforming city centre. The CCP programme is a move to use real time data in a smarter way. The partnership follows on from a new scheme to revamp the centre, with the £440m Westgate Centre redevelopment. This is expected to result in a 54% increase in retail space in the entire city centre, an increase from 5 million to 16 million visitors per year, and provide 3,000 new jobs in the city centre when it will be open in 2017. A two-storey underground car park has also been built.
Based on a number of reports, a conservative estimate is that the smart mobility technology market will be worth £200m in Oxfordshire alone by 2020. Oxford is at the heart of automotive technology R&D and low carbon bus deployment. As the MobOx projects foster investment and innovation in this market, the potential reach of the most successful solutions is global.
Laura Peacock, X from Oxfordshire Council says: “Oxfordshire County Council is keen to be at the forefront of innovation and explore new, interesting ways of sharing and using data for the benefit our constituents. Through this partnership, our aim is to reduce congestion and pollution. In addition, driving economic growth through innovation is a key future theme for the county and this is an example of a project that creates opportunities.”Finlay Clark, head of Waze UK says: “x