Researchers from the social networks IT security group at Ben Gurion University of the Negev showed that GPS navigation systems, especially location-based social networks such as the application by Israel’s Waze Ltd., have strongly improved drivers’ orientation and helped prevent traffic accidents.
Unlike a traditional navigational GPS system, Waze also provides drivers with information about road traffic, police patrolling and various road hazards. The application functions like a social network because its members are the ones who supply this information to each other. Currently, 28 million registered members worldwide use Waze, including 4 million in Israel, reported Globes.
The study, which was based on Waze data, identified and mapped the location of traffic accidents in Israel on a daily basis. Researchers found via Google Earth that 75 percent of traffic accident-prone locations were intersections. They also found that police arrive on the scene of an accident after an average of 20 minutes, and sometimes up to 40 minutes, from the moment when the accident is first reported.
“Only now are we beginning to discover the potential in the huge amount of data collected daily. Studies of this kind, which monitor events such as traffic accidents over time, can help the police identify dangerous sections of roads in real time, or alternatively, locations where few police are needed,” said the study’s chief researcher.