ABC7, Waze to help drivers with Bay Bridge closure

February 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Caltrans is keeping a close eye on the weather to determine if it's still a go for this weekend's westbound closure of the Bay Bridge. The closure from Friday night to Tuesday morning is to allow workers to do some paving, lane striping and demolition. Rain could postpone it, but it would take a lot to do it.

Now is a great time to download ABC7 News' exclusive Waze app to your smartphone, to help you get around the traffic jams.

Ben Gleitzman commutes into San Francisco across the Bay Bridge.

"Normally this is terribly backed up. This is the worst part of my trip," said Gleitzman.

But from Friday night until Tuesday morning, there won't be any backup because the upper deck of the bridge will be closed. If he has to drive into the city, Ben says he'll use Waze, the traffic and navigation app on his smartphone.

"I'll use it to know which bridge I should take. I don't know how the traffic patterns are going to change yet," said Gleitzman, as he approaches the Bay Bridge toll plaza.

Instead of relying on road sensors -- Waze gets its traffic data from every one of its users, in real time -- making it ideally suited to help during a major bridge closure.

"There could be dozens of alternate routes, and those routes -- what's happening on the roads is going to change minute by minute," said Waze Vice President Di-Ann Eisnor.

Just by using the app you're automatically contributing your speed and location, to help other users -- and ABC7 News traffic reports.

The more users we have, the more I'll be able to do almost my entire traffic report around the Bay Area on Waze," said ABC7 traffic reporter Frances Dinglasan.

Since Dinglasan began featuring Waze on the air, more than 2,000 people have joined the ABC7 News Traffic Spotters group. And Waze users can report traffic jams.

"Someone even submitted a picture with their report, so that's something you just do not want to get stuck in," said Dinglasan.

Remember, using your phone's touch screen while driving is dangerous and illegal. But now, you can report traffic without touching your phone.

Just wave your hand over your iPhone, and Waze will ask you some questions to make a report.

"I would've never reported that previously - hands free makes it so easy," said Gleitzman.

And it can navigate to stored locations, like home and work.

Waze will have up to the minute status on the weekend closure and re-opening of the Bay Bridge.


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