Waze releases global driving data; adds COVID-19 tools to navigation map


A few days ago, Google released COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports – derived from the location data of Google Maps users – to help government officials measure and manage the impact of movement restrictions imposed to mitigate the novel coronavirus. And now, Google-subsidiary Waze navigation app has followed suit.

According to Waze, its users drove 60% fewer miles in the March 1 – April 10 period as compared to February.

Waze coronavirus covid19 driving features

A closer, country-level look confirms that the earliest changes in traffic patterns were reflected by the nations where the COVID-19 outbreak occurred first, with other countries joining the group soon after.

Waze coronavirus covid19 driving features

Since Italy was one of the first nations to witness a freighting surge in COVID-19 cases, driving there decreased by more than 90% in the March-beginning – mid-April period.

Waze coronavirus covid19 driving

But analyzing driving patterns is not the only thing that has kept the team at Waze busy during the last few weeks. With support from a 30k-strong global community of volunteer map editors and local government officials, the Waze Crisis Response team has been updating road closures and red zones in maps of 58 countries (and counting). By assisting with region-specific relief efforts, Waze has been able to ensure that drivers of essential commodities reach their destinations safely.

Further, in the United States, the Waze app now shows more than 30,000 emergency food distribution locations. For this, Waze has partnered with nonprofits WhyHunger and No Kid Hungry.

Waze has also released a new feature that allows users to identify the stores that are providing alternate pickup options for food and other essential goods.

Waze coronavirus covid19 features

In compliance with social distancing norms, these unique badges clearly show which local businesses are offering drive-thru or curbside pickup services. Users can easily search, filter, and navigate to these locations to get food and other grocery supplies with minimal contact.

Ishveena is a geospatial enthusiast and a freelance technology writer who has been named among Geospatial World's 50 Risings Stars 2021. With 13 years of mainstream journalism and digital content writing experience, Ishveena is passionate about bringing to the fore the value of location technology to the economy and society. Her clients include GIS corporations, proptech companies, fintech leaders, and some of the world's top drone manufacturers and service providers.


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