If you’re starting a tech company right now and you’re about to talk to venture capitalists, the first question they’re going to ask you is “what problem are you solving?” You want investors to salivate? Tell them you’ve created an app that will solve urban traffic problems, even in notoriously brutal cities like Los Angeles. That’s what the smartphone Waze app promised. The road to traffic hell is paved with good intentions, though. The Associated Press reveals that what the Waze app (the name is a VC-wooing combo of Ways and Maze, get it?) has actually done is push the traffic to smaller streets, creating more more traffic jams on residential streets less equipped to handle them. All while trying to show people shortcuts based on real time data.
Speaking of data, what if it’s no good? Reports are numerous that people who want the shortcut traffic off their streets are trying to fool the app with bad info. If that works, a clear street might be showing up on Waze as packed, thanks to someone who’s tired of the bustle and hassle of cars ditching the 405. (Waze says it collects enough data that no one could game the system this way.) The whole situation seems like a dilemma from the mind of baseball great and accidental aphorist Yogi Berra, who once allegedly said: “That place is so crowded nobody goes there anymore.”