Google-owned navigation app Waze is rolling out a worldwide security characteristic that alerts customers about upcoming railroad crossings.
The characteristic shouldn’t be wholly new, and was quietly launched within the US, Belgium, and Canada earlier this 12 months, however Waze says it’s now increasing the alerts to extra territories. In some international locations it’s working with official information from railroad operators, whereas in others (just like the UK, Italy, Israel, Brazil, Mexico) it’s counting on its neighborhood of native map editors so as to add alerts.
“Railroad Crossing alerts started rolling out on Waze earlier this year, however now that more people are returning to the roads following the COVID-19 outbreak we are highlighting this functionality to help promote road safety,” a spokesperson for Waze instructed The Verge.
The alerts seem as a pop-up within the Waze app however could be turned off by customers. To flip the alerts off, customers can head to Search > Settings > Map Display > Reports > Railroad crossing and deselect “Alert me while driving.” It’s not clear precisely what number of crossings are included in Waze’s database or how protection could differ between international locations.
Many rail organizations, just like the US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), have been pushing for GPS apps to integrate railroad alerts for years. Safety companies say drivers nonetheless get confused about the place and when to cease close to railroad crossings, particularly if affected by fatigue, and that alerts from navigation apps like Waze might help remind them of those risks. The most up-to-date data from the FRA masking 2018 reported that there have been 2,217 collisions at railroad crossings within the US with 262 of those leading to fatalities.
Dani Simons, Waze’s head of public sector partnerships, mentioned the characteristic was the results of a “cross-industry, cross-sector collaboration, both internally within Waze and the community, working together to help fellow drivers map out all highway-railroad intersections.”