How Mobile Tech Is Being Used to Fight Carmageddon

Carmageddon is poised to bring Los Angeles to a standstill this weekend, but several mobile tech companies are helping commuters handle the chaos.

Carmageddon is the term many Los Angeles residents are using to describe the planned closure of the 405 Freeway, a road that carries more than 280,000 cars per day across LA. The city of Los Angeles plans to close a ten-mile section of Interstate 405, starting at 7 PM on July 15 and reopening at 6 AM on Monday.

The 405 closure is expected to bring the city’s traffic to a crawl. Many business are shutting down early so their employees don’t get caught in the traffic, while others like the Getty Center are closing entirely for the weekend. The entire city will be affected.

While some companies are dreading the upcoming weekend, several companies are seizing Carmageddon as an opportunity. Mobile traffic app Waze, for example, has teamed up with ABC to provide its local LA television station (KABC-TV) realtime traffic information. Waze determines traffic conditions by tracking the GPS data provided by the 4.5 million users of its mobile app, which provides greater detail and insight into a city’s traffic conditions.

Waze has also partnered with UCLA, Metro and other others “to get the word out about alternate routes.” It’s even started a website, as part of its campaign.

AT&T is also helping commuters avoid the pain of Carmageddon. The wireless provider will be sending text messages to AT&T customers within 25 miles of the Carmageddon zone, warning them of the closure and suggesting they use a navigation app like AT&T Navigator.

While these initiatives aren’t going to help Los Angeles residents avoid Carmageddon (there is no avoiding it), smartphone technology will likely give smart commuters an edge as they try to navigate LA’s congested roads

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