Google VP Predicts End to Traffic Jams

YERUSHALAYIM -
Traffic jams like this one will soon be obsolete, says Waze cofounder and Google VP Noam Bardin. (Flash90)

We stand on the verge of a world without traffic jams, Waze cofounder and Google VP Noam Bardin predicts.

Speaking on Wednesday in Google’s Tel Aviv offices, Bardin explained that ridesharing will dramatically reduce the number of cars on the road and at the same time bring down pollution levels, Globes quoted him as saying.

Waze, which is now a subsidiary of Google, launched a carpool service several months ago that enables travelers to search for drivers going to the same destination, and to offer to join them for a fee. Right now the service is only in Israel and San Francisco, but will probably be offered in other markets in the future.

The navigation app has begun cooperation with the Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance service. When a Waze user reports an accident, the information is transmitted directly to MDA centers around Israel, enabling faster response times. Initial data shows that the new feature has cut 10-15 percent off ambulance response time.

Waze also released revised figures on its operations: It now provides services to 80 million active users a month, including 2.7 million in Israel, where the company got its start.

Not all the news from Waze has been good in recent days. Two weeks ago, the service mistakenly “blocked” Israel’s Highway 1 and directed drivers to Highway 443 as an alternate route. In fact, Highway 1 was open, and the misnavigation caused traffic jams, rather than avoiding them.

The error drew complaints and made headlines, but Bardin downplayed it, pointing out that it was corrected in a few minutes.