Waze blames a glitch for sending drivers into dead end roads

Waze blames a glitch for sending drivers into dead end roads
Back in late October, we told you that Google-owned mapping and navigation app Waze was giving drivers the wrong directions and sending them right into the heart of traffic jams. Waze CEO admitted that "We have a problem with the algorithm. The more people we serve, the more it’s affected. The coronavirus has put us in a situation where we have to reinvent our algorithm."

Waze is navigating drivers into closed roads inside U.K. parks

Those problems that Waze was having were affecting their Israeli users. Now, according to road.cc, Waze is having problems directing users in the U.K. through the Royal Parks of London. A tweet sent from the charity to Waze said that it "would like to talk to someone about several of the reasons you [sic] we'd prefer you not directing drivers down closed roads in a park, what's the best way to reach you please?"

The tweet included a screenshot from Waze that showed the app directing drivers through Richmond Park. Waze at first said that it would look into the matter, and eventually, it acknowledged that it routed drivers through closed roads. While the company said that it wasn't sure why it happened, it added that it wasn't seeing any issues with routes at that moment and wondered whether the earlier problem was nothing more than a temporary glitch.

Social Media users did what social media users do best; they criticized both Waze and The Royal Parks for not doing everything that they could to end the problem. The Department of Parks & Recreation told The Royal Parks: "We welcome your engagement with routing providers, although we think you should tell the providers not to route through the park at all."

Richmond Park, the subject of the initial tweet, is known for hosting cyclists leading Merton Cycling Campaign to complain to The Royal Parks, "You're enabling this. You own the problem. Just close the gates to through traffic as responsible stewardship of a national nature reserve during a climate emergency requires." Another tweet from a "Marty Velo" also blamed The Royal Parks and said, "why have you guys not tried to get in touch with them since the app was released years ago? It's a bit late now, isn't it? The parks are overrun with dangerous rat-running drivers."

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And yet another tweet, this one disseminated by Madeleine Baines, showed directions inside the same park from Google Maps and the latter also navigated users to closed routes.

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Waze started life as a crowdsourced navigation app that depended on the Waze community to inform users about accidents, traffic jams, police speed traps, and more. After Google bought Waze in 2013, many questioned why Google would make the deal considering that Google Maps was (and still is) the most popular mapping and navigation app. But over the years Google took some of the most innovative features from Waze and added them to Google Maps.

For example, back in August Google Maps started showing the cost of tolls on bridges and roads that are crossed as part of the user's journey. This came from Waze as did incident reporting. This was one of the first features that Google added to its Maps app and it came just months after the acquisition of Waze was announced by the gang at Mountain View.

Six years later, Google announced that Google Maps users could report slowdowns on their journey from "A" to "B" along with crashes and speed traps. Waze still has some popular features such as setting up the app to give you turn-by-turn directions in your own voice.

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