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Jon Peltier

Could Waze be sending vehicles on alternate routes to sample the traffic conditions on these routes? 1 in 10 or even 1 in 100 would be enough to detect an unexpected slowdown, which may benefit the other 9 in 10 or 99 in 100 drivers.

Mark

From a modeling standpoint, perhaps the most interesting thing about these weird detours is that they almost invariably divert drivers from high information roads to low information roads, which is the opposite of how you'd expect an optimization algorithm to work.

My best guess is that while highways and major streets have enough users on their phones to provide decent real time data on things like traffic speed and density, the algorithm has to resort to very basic city and county information (speed limit, number of stop signs, etc.) when navigating largely empty residential streets. The algorithm is stitching together data rich segments that are highly complex with data poor segments it treated as simple.

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