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who ac­tively use the app as of late 2017.

So what is a tech-hun­gry city to do to tackle the un­wanted con­se­quences? The City of Leo­nia has taken dras­tic mea­sures to fight res­i­den­tial traf­fic due to Waze. The city has restricted 60 side streets to res­i­dents only dur­ing rush hour by is­su­ing a bright yel­low tag to keep in your car for res­i­dents of Leo­nia.

If you don’t have that tag, you can face a $200 fine.

Waze does seem will­ing to work with com­mu­ni­ties to limit res­i­den­tial traf­fic. Terry Wei, a Waze spokesper­son, told the New York Times that if a road is legally re­clas­si­fied into a pri­vate road then Waze’s map ed­i­tors will re­spect that change.

Some res­i­dents have even re­sorted to re­port­ing false block­ages in an at­tempt to not have their neigh­bour­hood as a route, but such an at­tempt couldn’t fool the crowd­sourc­ing of Waze.

A less dras­tic so­lu­tion could be to lower the speed limit on res­i­den­tial roads down to 30 km/h to pro­mote safe driv­ing in these res­i­den­tial streets, some­thing that Keesmaat has re­cently en­dorsed for all res­i­den­tial streets in Toronto.

Steven Far­ber, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of trans­port ge­og­ra­phy at Univer­sity of Toronto, agrees with the idea to lower speed lim­its.

“Our speed lim­its are still too high on quiet res­i­den­tial streets,” he said. “If the city reg­u­lated the speed limit on these res­i­den­tial streets down to 15 or 10 km/h, Waze would no longer see these streets as at­trac­tive de­tours be­cause the speed lim­its would be set too low and it wouldn’t ac­tu­ally save time. As long as they are open thor­ough­fares with rel­a­tively high speed lim­its, peo­ple are go­ing to try to use those streets to cut through traf­fic,” he said.

How­ever, Burn­side dis­agrees that low­er­ing the speed limit will af­fect the in­flux of cars from Waze.

“That isn’t go­ing to change the driv­ers who are al­ready us­ing the streets. The cat is al­ready out of the bag,” Burn­side said.

Although Waze does have neg­a­tive con­se­quences, Far­ber high­lights its ben­e­fits.

“I do see the pos­i­tive of app­based rout­ing be­cause it re­ally could in­crease the ef­fi­ciency and op­ti­mal­ity of our trans­porta­tion sys­tem with­out spend­ing money on new in­fra­struc­ture. That’s a ma­jor win,” he said.

“Then it is about fig­ur­ing out whether or not it is fair [to lo­cal res­i­dents].”

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