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Waze, Google Maps make traffic matters worse during Skirball and Creek fires, officials say

LOS ANGELES During this week’s wildfires, navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps were guiding drivers into evacuation areas and caused congestion where officials were ordering streets closed, according to a motion introduced by Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz on Friday, Dec. 8.
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The Creek and Skirball fires caused large-scale evacuations of streets and neighborhoods, and the motion says that navigation apps were directing
drivers to those areas because the data indicated there was no traffic there.
“Cut-through traffic directed by Waze and other navigation apps has long created problems in many residential neighborhoods. But on the day of the
Skirball fire evacuation, drivers’ phones were navigating them into the fire zone, onto streets they weren’t familiar with,” Koretz told City News Service.
“Not only did it steer them into life-threatening danger, but it caused congestion where public safety officials were ordering streets cleared so residents under evacuation orders could safely get out and we could get our fire equipment in. With a simple change in the program code this could be avoided in the future,” he said.
The motion would direct the fire department and Department of Transportation to report on efforts to coordinate with navigation app developers to prevent their apps from directing drivers into evacuated areas.
Source: Oc Register

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