In response to the COVID-19 outbreak around the globe, Google’s GPS navigation software app, Waze, has activated its community and network of partners across its Volunteer Communities, Waze for Cities programs, among others, to support crisis response.
Waze data shows that the number of motorists driving all around the world has significantly dropped. Globally, Waze users are driving 60% fewer kilometers compared to the February daily average for a two-week period (Feb. 11-25, 2020).
In line with the global trend, with the Luzonwide Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) measures in place, Waze users in the Philippines are also driving significantly less (88% fewer kilometers) compared to the same February daily average.
Despite the overall decrease in the number of people on the road, there are still essential journeys that need to be made, such as to purchase food and other necessities, which is why Waze believes that its data can help users plan their drives more effectively. To support this, Waze Map Editors and Waze Crisis Response team are currently working with 58 countries (and counting) to add region-specific relief efforts including road closures, red zones, and more, to the map.
In the Philippines, Waze has added COVID-19 Reference Laboratories in Metro Manila, Baguio, Cebu, and Davao to its map. Waze users can now locate the nearest medical testing center by typing “COVID” or “covid” in the destination search bar.
COVID-19 Landing Page
Waze highly encourages its users to take precautions and follow local guidelines during the lockdown. With this, a “Luzon Quarantine” notification will appear every 24 hours on-screen on the app, to remind Luzon-based users about the ongoing ECQ. The notification will display the following message: “Travel is allowed only for buying essentials or if you work in an essential industry”.
Waze has also launched a COVID-19 Landing Page asking governments around the world to contribute data on medical testing centers and emergency food distribution center locations to help improve its maps for users. Once the data is received, Waze will validate and add the details to the map, and then inform drivers accordingly.
Another initiative that Waze has quickly rolled out is support for drive-throughs and curbside pickup to help provide users with minimal contact access to Waze’s partners products, such as food and other essentials while remaining compliant with social distancing guidelines with new Location Personalities badges and search features. Businesses who need to update their information can do so in a few simple steps or contact Waze’s support team for help.