Google-owned Waze offers a lot of local information for drivers as they navigate around town, and now, the app is adding a first-of-its-kind feature. Starting today, Waze will alert drivers of upcoming railroad crossings.
Why highlight railroad crossings? The hope for Waze is to give drivers a heads-up regarding an approaching crossing in order to reduce the number of drivers involved in accidents involving these crossings. This is especially important on the crossings that lack sufficient signs, gates, or flashing lights.
Waze built this feature in collaboration with major railway operators and volunteer Waze map editors around the world. As a result, the feature is available in the US, Canada, Mexico, France, UK, Italy, Israel, Brazil, Colombia, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Netherlands, and Ireland.
The decision to add railroad crossing alerts to the Waze map follows recommendations from both the US senate and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to app-based navigation platforms like Waze that doing so can help contribute to the efforts to reduce the number of drivers involved in railroad crossing fatalities. The US Federal Railroad Administration also championed this feature and provided valuable insights as Waze used their publicly available database of US railroad crossings. The feature was advocated for by major rail network operators and other organizations, including MTA Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak, SEPTA, Brightline, Operation Lifesaver Canada, the Railway Association of Canada, CN,SNC, the Regulatory Agency of Rail Transport of Mexico (ARTP) and the Secretary of Communications and Transportation of Mexico.
Notably, Waze won’t tell you if the railroad crossing is currently in use or if a train is passing by. Both of those would be welcome additions to the feature in the future, though.
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