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Total Recall Has Arrived—Sort of—in Las Vegas

By: Bridget Clerkin December 26, 2018
What happens in Vegas usually stays in Vegas—unless you’re recovering from a car accident there. But Waycare, Waze, and a few state agencies are helping lower the number of traffic incidences.
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Last year, several Nevada transportation agencies took a risk on a new tech program in an attempt to curb traffic accidents—and it seems that gamble may have paid off.

Utilizing information from the mapping app Waze, the state was able to cut down on primary accidents along Las Vegas’ busy stretch of I-15 by as much as 17 percent.

The impressive statistic comes after a year-long program was launched between Silicon Valley company Waycare and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), as well as the state’s Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation (DOT).

Intended to increase roadway safety with the help of predictive algorithms, the pilot project allowed Waycare to access data gathered from a myriad of sources, including the crowdsourced information on Waze, plus data made available through connected cars, road cameras, and other “smart” infrastructure.

All told, the reams of details allowed the company to build a virtual real-time map of conditions along the state’s roads, which was then analyzed consistently for developing trouble spots.

And projections made by the AI itself were able to take that high-tech process even further, successfully identifying accidents up to 12 minutes faster than their human counterparts.

The predictive practice allowed law enforcement agencies to take greater precautionary measures on the roads, further helping to serve the cause.

As it continued to scan the streets, the program would alert agents at Waycare any time it foresaw a potential problem, naming not just where but when preventative action may be required. That information was then relayed to the appropriate transportation agencies in Nevada, which would use their own switchboards to organize an appropriate response.

And while that practice was successful in its own right, state agencies saw a further boost in road safety earlier this year after Waycare inked a deal with Google-owned Waze to use the app to communicate directly to drivers.

The development allowed for state agencies to issue alerts to user’s phones in the case of emergencies, dangerous roadway conditions, or oncoming hazards or incidents. And, according to the state, the warnings were hugely successful, with 91% of drivers traveling over 65 mph reducing their speed after receiving the notice.

The agencies haven’t yet said whether they will continue the program. So far, however, it’s seemed to at least prove that, in this new age, there are apparently many Waze to help stop an accident.

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