Evacuation Zones on Waze

Waze recognizes that crises are dynamic and fast-moving so it is important that we share as much road information as possible to help users make informed decisions. That being said, our data is only as good as what we get from relevant authorities, and we ask for real-time information so we can continuously keep our maps up-to-date. However, regardless of the route Waze suggests, we advise users stay alert and exercise their best judgment when they are behind the wheel.

Questions? Please reach out to waze-crisis@google.com

Evacuation Zones FAQs 

What defines an Evacuation Zone?

An Evacuation Zone is an area that an official organization is ordering people to evacuate from. When the relevant authorities have organized evacuation plans, certain areas can be known in advance, but they can also be dynamic and decided on in real time, depending on the type of crisis event and the organizations involved.

Where does Waze get Evacuation Zone information from?

Waze will always prioritize data from official authorities, and we will also proactively reach out to partners for data. If the volunteer community provides data it will need to be verified by official sources.

What is the Evacuation Zone feature?

The Evacuation Zone feature helps keep users safe by:

  • Warning them when their destination is in an evacuation zone
  • Automatically rerouting drivers around an area en route to a destination - even if this increases journey time.

How does the Evacuation Zone feature work?

For Evacuation Zones that we know about in advance (static)

  • Waze will avoid routing drivers through evacuation zones, even if it’s the most efficient route in times of active crisis.
  • If a Waze user’s destination is within an evacuation zone, Waze will give users the option to change their destination

For dynamic Evacuation Zones that we receive in real-time

  • If a Waze user’s destination is within an evacuation zone, Waze will give users the option to change their destination
  • Given how quickly the zones change during a crisis, the navigation could potentially route users through the evacuation zone until the the information has been fully updated within the map.

Once Waze has the polygons, partners can report an active evacuation zone by emailing waze-crisis@google.com and we can activate them in real time.

 

            

How do I submit Evacuation Zone information to Waze?

Email waze-crisis@google.com with one polygon per file from your organization email. The file must be in KML or WKT format and named exactly as the official organizations refer to it. 

 

If you have evacuation plans in place, providing Waze with the polygons in advance will ensure we will be able to support routing in addition destination notification.

How do I activate/deactivate an Evacuation Zone?

Email waze-crisis@google.com with the name of the zone and the start/end date and time of the activation/deactivation. 

If a destination is in an Evacuation Zone, does it mean I am not allowed to drive there?

The areas that Waze supports as evacuation zones have been decided by official government organizations as not safe when they are active. Waze will alert the user if their destination is in the zone and give them the opportunity to change their destination. If Waze has the polygons in advance, Waze will also route the users around the evacuation zone as the default navigation. The user will still be able to select the fastest route (that goes through the evacuation zone) from the routes list as long as the roads are not marked as closed on Waze. 

If a route doesn't go through an Evacuation Zone, does it mean Waze recommends it as safe?

As always, there’s no substitute to drivers’ judgment. Waze relies on real-time information gathered from users and partners and attempts to reflect the most accurate on-the-ground information. If a user’s route is through an Evacuation Zone, we recommend the driver exercise extra caution.

How do I turn off the visible alert?

This feature doesn’t appear as a setting in the app. It is automatically enabled for users by default.

What happens if I ignore the alert? 

Drivers must confirm or cancel their destination when they receive a pop-up at the beginning of their journey. 

How will this affect first responders that are trying to navigate with Waze?

Waze does not block any navigation. Users will still be able to navigate through the evacuation zone if they want, but they will need to proactively select that route from the alternative routes list. The default route for a destination not in the evacuation zone will be the longer route bypassing the evacuation zone. 

Where is the Waze Evacuation Zone feature currently available? 

The pilot of static evacuation zones is currently live only in certain parts of the US: New York City, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia Beach. 

Can this feature be used to support other use cases besides evacuation zones?

Currently we are only supporting evacuation zones with the feature. As the feature stabilizes, we will consider other options on a case by case basis. 
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