Social traffic and navigation community Waze today officially launched its free broadcast partner program, an initiative that provides television stations with social engagement and local user-reported traffic updates via a suite of tools designed for broadcasters.

Waze has been developing these tools in partnership with 12 initial partner stations that include KGO-TV San Francisco, KABC-TV Los Angeles and WPVI-TV Philadelphia.

It’s a modern take on the local station staple of having audience members call in with their observations. Traffic reporters use an iPad in the studio to control the display of real-time road conditions and reports on highways and surface streets supplied by drivers on the road. They can also encourage branded commuter groups from within the app, providing an avenue for engaging directly with their audiences.

In Los Angeles, where people’s lives are unnaturally and continually affected by what traffic is like at any given moment, the ABC7 Traffic Spotters group already has nearly 3,400 active members from among the 450,000 users of the free Waze traffic and navigation app.

The San Francisco Bay Area has nearly 150,000 Waze users. “ABC7 is excited to add Waze to our expanding set of tools to better report real-time traffic conditions,” said William Burton, president and general manager of ABC7/KGO-TV. “We’ll be able to provide our viewers and users of our digital platforms with exclusive unparalleled traffic information, even on the many roads where traffic sensors aren’t available.”

Di-Ann Eisnor, vice president of partnerships and platforms for Waze, said a local station can get up and running with the service in just under a week.

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