How does Waze work?

The Waze navigation mechanism

The power of Waze is in your hands. By simply driving around with Waze open on your device, you share real-time information that translates into traffic conditions and road structure. When you use Waze, you can also actively report to the community on traffic, accidents, police traps, blocked roads, weather conditions and much more. Waze collects this information and immediately analyzes it in order to provide other Wazers with the most optimal route to their destination, 24 hours a day.

The easiest way to improve Waze is just to drive around with Waze open on your screen. Even if you aren't using Waze to navigate, just open it. You don't have to do anything.

Waze uses the information it collects to calculate average speed, check for errors, improve road layout and learn road and turn direction. There's no need to make special trips with Waze. In fact, Waze works best on your regular trips and commuting.

The maps and navigation are powered by users. The more people drive with Waze open, the better the navigation.

Who is Waze designed for?

Waze is powered and used by drivers all over the world. Drivers connect to one another and work together to improve each other’s driving experience. As a community-based traffic and navigation app, Waze was created as a social navigation tool for private cars. Because of that, we don't currently support navigating in lanes dedicated to public transportation, bicycles or trucks.

How Waze learns your routes

In order for Waze to accurately give you the optimal route, depending on your settings, it needs to have accurate data for all neighboring segments and routes. Waze collects data for every road driven with the app open.  Next time a specific road is driven with the app open, Waze will know to compare data between each possible route and will know how to better to suggest the optimal route.

We always work to improve the algorithm of the system so it will suggest the optimal route. However, there might be better routes than the ones suggested by Waze. Routing issues like this happen because the system works on real time and average statistics. We suggest that you take the suggested route a few times so that Waze can learn from it.

If, in your estimation, Waze doesn't give you the best route, it may be due to the following:

  • A map error somewhere along your preferred route

  • A lack of correct speed/traffic data for that route

  • A lack of correct speed/traffic data on the route it is trying to send you on

Internet connection

Waze was built assuming a data network connection would be present all, or at least most, of the time. For all aspects of Waze to operate, you must have an active data connection on your mobile device. This connection enriches Waze with real-time traffic-related information and ensures an up-to-date map. Without an internet connection, you won't be able to locate or navigate a route.

If you have an intermittent connection, Waze will try to get data from the servers for traffic alerts and hazards, but may not be able to give you reliable information. Additionally, if Waze doesn't have a connection back to the Waze servers, you will not be able to post hazards. Waze does not cache reports or map issues to send later.

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