Google Maps’ incident reporting adds slowdown option for traffic jams

Ever since Google’s acquisition of socially sourced navigation app Waze six years ago, the web giant has been gradually adding a number of its features to Google Maps.

As recently noted by 9to5Google, Google Maps is currently rolling out an enhanced incident-reporting feature to help give drivers an easier time on the road.

Labeled as “slowdowns” (or “congestion” for those with the app set to U.K. English), it allows drivers using Maps to manually report slow traffic that’s causing a traffic jam, giving those approaching the area the opportunity to change their route or adjust their journey in other ways, such as taking a break until the traffic ahead clears.

While Google Maps can already show slow roads and traffic jams with varying colors along the affected part of a route, its method of pulling data from drivers on the road means that it can take time for the changes to appear on the map. Giving drivers the chance to manually report slow traffic offers Google’s systems another layer of data and also has the potential to shorten the time it takes for traffic data to appear on the app for other drivers approaching the area.

Before now, incident reports for Google Maps allowed for crash and speed trap sightings, with slowdowns now offering an additional way for drivers to help one another by reporting what they see when they’re on the road.

At the current time it’s unclear if the ability to report slowdowns is rolling out only to Android, or if Google Maps for iPhone is also getting the feature.

Android users can check if they’re able to report slowdowns by first locating the “+” sign inside a speech bubble at the bottom left of the Maps display. Tap on it and you’ll have the chance to add traffic details — including “crash,” “speed trap,” and, if available, “slowdown” — allowing Google Maps to better calculate routes or send alerts to drivers when they’re approaching a hazard.

Other new features added to Google Maps in recent months include closer integration with Lime bikes and scooters, support for hashtags in reviews for businesses, and the ability to message businesses directly through the app.

Can’t make up your mind between Google Maps and Waze? Digital Trends has taken a close look at what each app offers.

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