Cities Seeking New Weapons in the Battle Against Waze-Induced Traffic

Los Altos, California has erected a new roadblock in its ongoing effort to keep drivers from cutting through residential neighborhoods, beckoned by the popular navigation app Waze.1

Mobile navigation apps, and especially Waze, the Israeli mapping software owned by Google, have maximized the utility of the local road network by sending drivers off the highway and arterial streets and through residential areas like Los Altos Hills. (Users of the app report traffic patterns and obstructions in real time.)

First, Los Altos Hills asked Waze to remove three roads from its map. Waze does not entertain such requests. So Los Alto Hills came up with a Plan B: Close the streets to people who don’t live there. In May, the city erected “No Thru Traffic” signs on three roads where they crossed the city limit. Waze complied, according to a report from the Los Altos Hills manager, which means it will no longer direct users to drive on those streets.