Anasofía Sánchez
Director General
Waze Mexico
View from the Top

Beating Traffic with Data

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 18:09

Q: How is Waze adding value to mobility in Mexican cities?

A: Waze is a mobility platform based on four pillars. The first is our digital app, which focuses on users’ navigation needs and how they can reach their destination safely by using the best possible route. The second pillar is Waze for Cities, which focuses on working with local governments and mobility associations to exchange information. This helps Waze improve its user experience and enables governments to make better mobility and infrastructure decisions. The third pillar is the Waze Broadcasters service, which shares real-time traffic information. The fourth pillar is Waze Carpool, which helps to take cars off the road by enabling users to share commutes.

Q: What are the main opportunities for Waze to boost its profitability?

A: Our platform is funded in its entirety through the ads in our core app. Waze’s advertising strategy focuses on directing potential clients to retail points using the app. We can effectively turn an advertiser’s store into a destination through the app. Despite the growth that e-commerce has experienced in Mexico, 98 percent of all purchases are still done in physical stores rather than online. This offers a great opportunity for Waze to add value for its advertisers because we can learn about our users’ consumption patterns and target them with related advertising campaigns. In many cases, our ads have resulted in people changing their commutes to reach our clients’ retail points.

Waze is also exploring the concept of location awareness. For consumers, not knowing where a retail point means not considering that location in their purchasing decision. However, realizing that such a location is nearby enticing consumers to make a stop during their commute.

Q: How will Waze Carpool help reduce congestion in Mexico’s traffic-ridden cities?

A: Traffic in cities only peaks at certain hours and many people routinely commute to and from the same areas at these hours. Waze Carpool will ease the process of sharing rides to improve mobility in cities.

In Mexico, the average occupancy rate per vehicle is 1.2 people. If this figure rose to just two people per vehicle, traffic could be reduced by up to 40 percent. The only way to effectively reduce mobility problems in cities is by making more efficient use of vehicles through carpooling.

Q: What measures have Waze Carpool implemented to ensure its users’ well-being?

A: Waze Carpool users are not professional drivers as in ride-hailing services. Our users are regular people who commute daily and are willing to share their car. We have many security filters that allow users to only travel with women or people who work in the same workplace, for example. Waze Carpool is also not an immediate service. Users need to plan their commutes to find someone to carpool with, which enables users to choose an appropriate commuting partner and create a ride-sharing community. Additionally, fees paid to registered Waze Carpool drivers are designed to help drivers cover costs rather than as a way to make a profit.

Q: How important is Mexico for Waze’s global operations?

A: There are 2 million Waze users just in Mexico City, which says something about how important the Mexican market is for the company. Mexico is in the Top 5 countries for the largest number of Waze users and Mexican users are also highly active in the platform. The country is also key for the Waze for Cities and the Waze Carpool programs. The former’s main goal is identifying mobility opportunities and helping governments make informed decisions. We are already in talks with the governments of Mexico City, Guadalajara, Queretaro and Monterrey. Additionally, Mexico was the fourth country where Waze Carpool was launched, which showcases the company’s interest in solving traffic issues in Mexican cities.

Q: What projects are local governments in Mexico developing with Waze for Cities?

A: We worked with the Mexico City government to alleviate pressure on the busiest intersections in the city. This project considered not only drivers and pedestrians but all elements that can be found at an intersection. The use of our data helped the local government adapt infrastructure to improve conditions for pedestrians at some intersections without increasing wait times for cars and to reduce wait times at others. We have several other projects with the Mexico City government that are in the data analysis phase.

Q: What does Waze for Cities look for when searching for a local government to partner with?

A: Waze started with the cities that have the largest concentration of vehicles. More vehicles generally mean more headaches for users and the city government and users. Waze has also received requests from other city governments interested in finding out ways to improve their mobility situation.