L.A.’s KABC-TV Prepares for Carmageddon With Crowd-Sourced Traffic Reports
July 5, 2011
LOS ANGELES: The main north-south roadway in Southern California
is about to be closed temporarily, and KABC-TV is preparing for what locals are
referring to as “Carmageddon.” The city will be closing a 10-mile stretch of
I-405, the most congested stretch of freeway in the United States, on July
16-17 to take down an overpass in the mountain range between the L.A. Basin and
San Fernando Valley. An average of 500,000 vehicles travel on the 405 during
summer weekends, and local officials are concerned that word isn’t getting out
sufficiently such that Lady Gaga’s been asked to post messages about it on
KABC, the Disney-owned ABC O&O in the market, is taking a mobile approach. The
station tapped Israeli traffic software maker Waze to provide real-time traffic
and detour reports with a smartphone app. The company’s app will draw on data from its
180,000 local users to create live maps of traffic on the freeway, allowing the
station to provide real-time road reports.
“While viewers use the app to get where they need to go, they’re simultaneously
providing information to help their fellow drivers,” said Cheryl Fair, vice
president and news director for KABC-TV.
Waze provides similar crowd-sourced traffic information for Israeli broadcaster
Channel 2. Drivers there volunteer to be called by the station to report on
live traffic information from their location. In the United States, WBHH-TV in Fort
Myers, Fla., is supplementing its traditional traffic feed with commuters reports
via Waze’s app. The KABC-TV will represent the company’s first large-scale
deployment in the United States.
Waze said it’s partnership with WABC-TV coincides with its recent milestone of reaching
4.5 million driver/users. The company said its growth rate had doubled since it
announced a threshold of 2 million users and $25 million in B round funding
last December. The service launched in Spain and the United Kingdom last month.
“The use of crowdsourced traffic by major media is a huge validation of our
community-based infrastructure,” said Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze. “Consumers
embrace sharing information where it’s relevant and where they see real value
Waze is available from the Apple AppStore, the Android Market Place, the Nokia
Ovi Store, RIM’s App World and Windows Market or download from m.Waze.com.