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Gridlock Escape? There's an App for That

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If there are two things we can all agree on about Angelenos, it's that no matter how much they're warned about traffic they'll always take a drive, and that they love playing on their phones while driving. Fortunately, just in time for this weekend's impending gridlock, there's Waze, a free smartphone application made for drivers like them.

"It provides the best alternative to staying at home or riding a bike," says Di-Ann Eisnor, VP Community and Product for the software, which hit the US in November, 2009.

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Waze provides real time traffic info compiled largely from it's users' actual driving activities. In addition to tracking where they are and how fast they're moving, the app also accepts and reports on traffic jams, police stops, and road construction.

A look at a current route will then show not only where traffic is moving or stopped, but also other hazards drivers should account for, including speed traps.

"It puts everything we're doing to the test," Eisnor says of this weekend's 405 closure. Waze is looking to expanded its estimated 200,000 users in Los Angeles alone by teaming up with ABC7 to provide traffic info, as well as tracking thirteen additional alternate "carmageddon-resistant" routes along and around the canyons surrounding the Mulholland Pass.

If you're steering clear of the roads, you can keep an eye on the info provided by the application from safety of your desktop here.

Eisnor says that 10% if Israelis are already using Waze, where the application launched a full year prior before coming to the US. Internationally, the software has been downloaded by 4.5 million drivers.

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