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Maryland county becomes first emergency services provider to join crowdsourced program

A county authority in Maryland has become the first emergency services partner to join an international program that uses ‘crowdsourced’ real-time traffic information. The St Mary’s County government has announced a data-sharing partnership with Waze, the smartphone navigation application powered by the world’s largest community of drivers. As part of the Waze Connected Citizens Program, the two-way data share of publicly available traffic information is expected to provide greater efficiency, deeper insights, and safer roads for the county’s citizens. As part of the agreement, the county and its emergency response network will receive a real-time feed of publicly available reports of accidents, traffic and road hazards contributed by the Waze app driver community.

Now with over 30 global partners, the Waze Connected Citizens Program will receive partner input from St Mary’s County, such as feeds from road sensors and traffic cameras, add its own publicly available incident and road closure reports from the Waze traffic platform, and return one of the most succinct, thorough overviews of the current road conditions available. Users of the Android and Apple app will receive added information delivered in real-time about planned construction, severe weather, or anything else that can cause delays or unsafe driving conditions. “The partnership allows our 911 dispatchers and the Emergency Operations Center to improve situational awareness,” said Bob Kelly, St. Mary’s County director of emergency services and technology. “This will allow for better response to events that occur within the county.”

Paige Fitzgerald, manager of the Waze Connected Citizens Program, noted, “For rural communities like St Mary’s, real-time information from drivers is essential. Ensuring the safety of citizens is a primary goal for the program. Thanks to the data St Mary’s County is providing us, Waze users in the area are receiving the most reliable and up-to-date information about what’s happening on the roads.”

St Mary’s County Commissioner, Randy Guy, said, “The partnership with Waze allows us to gain more real-time information on road conditions. This data will help drivers maneuver around any bottlenecks and delays which may occur.”

June 25, 2015

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