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jca2's avatar

Have traffic apps like Waze re-routed local routes in your area, putting more trafffic where there was not much previously?

Asked by jca2 (12184points) September 4th, 2019

I live on a rural route near the intersection of two large highways, one an interstate and one a commuter highway that takes northerners down to major cities for work. Because of morning rush hour, cars going from the interstate to the commuter highway are desperate to speed things up. Thanks to Waze and other traffic apps, they now speed on my little rural route.

The rural route is now like a highway during morning and evening rush hour. Local leaders have tried to alleviate the chaos by having signs put up “Local traffic only” but how that could efficiently be enforced is a mystery. It would be impossible.

Has anything like this happened in your area?

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14 Answers

Dutchess_lll's avatar

No. But my area is like 10 block long by 10 blocks wide.

JLeslie's avatar

Interesting. I’m going to ask some friends who live in a similar situation as you. Where I live in FL currently it wouldn’t really apply much I don’t think. Not enough rush hour traffic to see something like what you describe materialize.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie: It’s not only rush hour. When I’m driving around other areas, like on the weekends, Waze puts me on back roads, residential streets which I am sure have never seen much traffic except for mostly residents. Now they have become thoroughfares. You know how locals always know the back roads, their “secrets” that help them get out of traffic? Now those back roads are no longer secret.

canidmajor's avatar

I have noticed that there are a few residential areas around here that do not show up on Google Maps directions. I saw on the news a while ago that neighborhoods can somehow be removed from those directions. I don’t know how, but I bet contacting your city (town) council would be a start.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Not regularly, but when the interstate (I-85) gets backed up for some reason, we get a lot of traffic from people who have been rerouted onto the small country road that parallels I-85, for about 6–7 miles, until the next exit.

In our case the small country road is a Georgia state (numbered) highway and there isn’t the option to do Local Traffic Only – by law, all state roads are open to all vehicles.

zenvelo's avatar

It has happened a lot here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

There is a hilly, curvy, narrow street in the southwest corner of San Francisco that can barely handle two cars at the same time. But it has become a popular “shortcut” since Waze and Uber/Lyft discovered it as a way to get from one major boulevard to another.

And Interstate 80 is always busy in Berkeley; often Waze will direct people onto a side street from one freeway exit to the next.

Brian1946's avatar


Has Waze ever directed traffic to that infamous section of Lombard St., or is that the one you’re referring to?

zenvelo's avatar

@Brian1946 No, it is MIguel Street in the Glen Park neighborhood. Waze would never send anyone down Lombard Street because it is always congested.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@jca2 WAZE is re-routing the cars because the highways are, at times, undersized for the all the cars and trucks.
The infrastructure needs to be updated and improved with wider highways.

Yes, WAZE and other GPS traffic Apps are sending cars to less congested roads including neighborhood streets.

JLeslie's avatar

Sounds like gated communities and subdivisions with no through streets are going to become even more desirable.

I remember when I lived near Memphis the town I lived in was just 12k people and growing. They were actively planning the growth of the town. They purposely made residential developments/subdivisions that connected so people could drive through from one to another without going back out to the main road, and I found it surprising. Where I come from communities were planned for just the opposite to prevent through traffic. I think they will regret how they planned it out. I hope not. Maybe I’m wrong and having multiple routes will be better.

Where I grew up there were trails and bike paths connecting communities, but not through streets for cars.

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie Interesting. Yet, neighborhoods without through streets cause increased congestion on the “main” roads.

There is a suburban city near me of 125,000 in which most of the neighborhoods do not have through routes, and everyone has to go out to the big boulevards to go anywhere. Traffic is horrible, day and night.

Cities with lots of alternatives spread the congestion out.

YARNLADY's avatar

Our “city”, a suburb of Sacramento, has installed traffic bumps on many side streets just off main thoroughfares to control that issue.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo I can see the logic with both. It’s especially nice to not have through traffic if young children play or bicycle in the streets unless there are planned trails and paths they can use.

YARNLADY's avatar

The last time we were in San Francisco, we were directed uphill and downhill and left and right and every which way. It was a really fun adventure.

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