My off-topic thought:
Ericular wrote:... how can we get there? How can Waze improve to appeal to more drivers? Are we lacking more in road & turn accuracy, or lack of real-time data and road reports?
Since my beginning with Waze, my opinion was always that Waze will never be able to make a real breakthrough, until the client will be able to calculate a decent route in offline mode, off course including the knowledge of such trivialities like house numbers and POIs. While being a useful and appealing navi, it could convince high percentage of its users or testers to make use of its wonderful online features. Otherwise, it will possibly never spread itself out of the most populated metropolitan areas.
Wait, what? I find this to be patently false in my own experience, and in fact I would say that Waze is ALREADY becoming useful - and used - in rural areas. Here's what I find.
1. I find some URs (usually using something like LMUR that lets me zoom way the heck out), showing that someone
is attempting to use Waze in a rural area.
2. I fix their problems, and try to make the surrounding area navigable, recognizing that they're trying to use it.
3. I spread outward, fixing some of the larger highways and the general area. At that point, let's say that 10-20 miles from that area, you can get from basic place to place.
4. Suddenly...there are Wazers out there after a few months. There aren't a LOT, and maybe they throw a UR out there once every two months or even longer - the only real evidence that they're using those improvements, but why should there be more? For every 100 Wazers in Chicago, there might be ten, if one is lucky, in Grand Island, Nebraska, and one in Gleason, Wisconsin - if the map works there
. None of this reduces the utility of fixing the map in that smaller place.
The best way to make Waze usable in rural areas is to fix the problems there. And I can tell you for certain, I've DONE that in say, Northern California. The first few rows, 1A through 9D on this map? http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/tsip/hseb/crs_maps/
I've done this, among other things:
Classified all roads in that area by functional class
Done basic short naming conventions and verification of directionals, split roads, etc, according to California's naming standard.
Identified and created cities where they did not exist in the basemap
Created missing segments in classified roads (and there were an awful lot of them) - a missing segment in a road means noone will ever be routed onto it!
(I do agree that Waze DOES need to allow GPS coordinate navigation to be cached when a user's phone network is offline, absolutely. We miss a lot of speed data because that doesn't work properly, but that's a different issue. At that point, if we have a completely workable rural map and Waze doesn't work because of mobile network signal gaps, that can be brought to Waze to say 'Okay, it's really REALLY time to fix this now.' And...we're kinda there.)