Waze rolls out pilot program in Norfolk helping drivers avoid flooded roads in real-time

Posted at 12:28 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 12:28:54-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk drivers using the Waze navigation app will be the first in the world to test a new feature helping drivers avoid flooded roads in real-time.

According to the National Weather Service, flooding and flash flooding combined are a leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., and 58 percent of the 997 fatalities blamed on flooding from 2011 to 2020 have happened in vehicles.

FloodMapp, the winner of the RISE Urban Mobility Resilience Challenge, will integrate its forecast flooding technology with Waze to offer drivers alerts about flooded roads.

According to a release from RISE, FloodMapp's forecast technology mixes tidal, riverine and rainfall data to create a "rapid, real-time" flood inundation model. That information is then automatically layered with Norfolk's citywide road network in a geographic information system and sent to Waze in real-time.

In addition, drivers can confirm flooding in the app, which will help make future Waze alerts more accurate and contribute to an automatic rerouting feature.

Related: Families in Hampton deal with aftermath of Monday's storm

“We are really excited to work with RISE and the City of Norfolk to roll out our product, and to help the people navigate around flood-affected areas," said FloodMapp CEO and co-founder Juliette Murphy. “We started FloodMapp because we have seen firsthand the devastation flooding causes, and we wanted to be part of a solution that helps people around the world.”

“As our streets flood more often due to climate change, we need to find a sustainable way to alert community members about the risks they face,” added Kyle Spencer, deputy resilience officer for the City of Norfolk. “FloodMapp’s technology provides affordable, citywide situational awareness that current solutions, such as sensor networks alone, don’t offer."