If your job depends on you to be in all places at all times — and requires you to drive to make that so — you need traffic reports updated in as close to real time as possible. One really handy tool for that is a new crowdsourced app called Waze, which allows you to get various alerts and updates from other Waze users on an easy-to-read map of your location. With this tool, you can more easily and safely navigate your area.
Waze is free in the Google Play Store and very easy to use. Waze also depends on users to report:
- Traffic jams
- Police sightings
- Gas prices
- and more
Let's install Waze and see just how simple it is to use.
Installing Waze is the same as installing any other Android app. Here's how.
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for Waze
- Locate and tap the entry by Waze Travel & Local
- Tap Install
- Read the permissions listing
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
Once it's installed, locate and tap the Waze launcher (either on your home screen or in your app drawer). You'll be prompted to accept the EULA. Scroll down, tap Accept, and then walk through the welcome setup.
The first step for setup is accepting the phone number listed (Figure A).
Waze running on a Verizon-branded Droid Turbo.
Tap Next and, when prompted, create a profile (Figure B) by entering a first/last name and then tapping Next.
Add your first and last name and tap Next.
The last step is to create your username. This will be the name associated with any reports you add — so use your best judgement on creating a profile name. Tap Next when you're done.
Finally, you'll land on the Waze map (Figure C). Here you'll start seeing reports coming and going. Each report will have a different icon to represent the type of report.
The Waze map.
To get a quick view of what each icon means, tap the upside down tear drop in the bottom right corner. This is the Report menu (Figure D).
The Waze report menu.
You can report various types of incidents and goings-on by opening the Report menu and tapping the icon for the type of report you want. Say, for example, you want to report a traffic jam. Do the following:
- Tap to open the Report menu
- Tap the Traffic Jam icon
- Select the type of jam (moderate, heavy, standstill)
- Fill in the details (Figure E)
- Tap "My side" to shift between your side of the road or Other side
- Take a picture (if you like)
- Tap Send
Filling out a traffic jam report with Waze.
You can see details of a report by tapping the icon for the report. When you tap the icon, the map will change to reveal the information about the report (Figure F).
Viewing a report from another user.
That's how easy it is to keep up to date with your local traffic. The more people use Waze, the more reliable it will be.
If you spend a lot of time traveling from job to job, do yourself a favor and take advantage of Waze. You'll spend less time in backed up traffic and more time getting your work done.
Do you rely on your mobile device to help navigate the waters of busy traffic? If so, what's your go-to app? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.