Waze Partnership Helping to Reduce Response Times for Emergency Personnel


A little over two years ago, Genesis PULSE® was released — a software tool for decision support and situational awareness for emergency call centers. Within a very short amount of time, call centers across the United States were using our program to enhance their dispatch processes, reduce response times, and completely innovate their after-action reviews.

We recently celebrated our one year anniversary as an affiliate member with Waze. Being a partner of the Connected Citizens Program (CCP), Waze shares data with us such as road closures, traffic jams, and traffic accident alerts. In turn, we share traffic accident locations dispatched by the local public safety agency, which the Waze app then displays to alert Wazers who may not yet have come upon the event.

After analyzing a year’s worth of traffic accident data from all PULSE customers and matching these to associated incidents reported by Wazers, we see that 62% of the time, the Waze notification is received up to 4 1/2 minutes in advance of a 9-1-1 call being placed. In the San Francisco Bay Area, where over 800,000 Wazers drive over 310 million kilometers per month, the Waze events in Oakland are ahead of the 9-1-1 call by just over 2 minutes almost 70% of the time.

These numbers are significant for emergency responders and call centers because it allows them to make more informed decisions as events populate their Waze widget inside the PULSE product, quickly pinpointing the traffic accident and any corresponding traffic jams. This allows these dispatch centers to ensure they send the closest, most appropriate unit, helping responders route around the traffic congestion to reach the patient (or patients) much faster than before.

Waze report vs 911 callYou might ask why there is such a lag in a Wazer reporting a traffic accident versus the 9-1-1 call being placed. This is best explained by a true psychological condition, known as the "Bystander Effect". This means that passing motorists are more likely to simply report the event in Waze and not get further involved by making a call to 9-1-1, assuming someone else has or will make that call.

The Waze partnership with Genesis PULSE allows first responders to route better, route smarter, and route faster. This translates to potentially saving more lives, and I can’t think of a better way to use and display data than for the betterment of each community and each person who depends on these emergency responders every day.

About Chad Richey

Chad Richey is the Genesis PULSE Product Manager by day and an avid Wazer and volunteer map editor by night (and weekends). Previously, Chad worked within the public safety communications industry where he spent more than 12 years managing and consulting with emergency call centers across the United States.