London Evening Standard)
- MARK BLUNDEN
- a day ago
Drivers who use super-accurate smartphone apps to avoid traffic are turning quiet streets into polluted rat runs, residents claim.
Those living in cut-throughs say traffic jams and accidents are increasing because motorists are avoiding congested routes with software such as Google-owned Waze, which shaves off time by “outsmarting traffic”.
London Assembly Greens say they receive complaints from across the capital about rush-hour jams, arguments and lorries getting stuck.
Haringey resident Dr Frederick Guy says streets around Green Lanes, known as the Harringay Ladder, have become a “Waze-enabled rat-run”.
Dr Guy, 62, an economist and cyclist, said: “People are treating cut-throughs like the highway and apps aggravate that.”
Free GPS-based map app Waze encourages users to report traffic jams, accidents, police checks, blocked roads and weather conditions. It calculates their average speed and learns their journey to make it faster.
Residents on Ringslade Road in Wood Green, which has long been a rat run, said apps had made it worse. They calculated that some 3,000 vehicles used their street as a cut-through each day, with about 300 vehicles every hour at the 8am peak.
Nigel Scott photographed a Fiat Punto that had flipped up on to a parked car after the driver took a corner too fast.
Mr Scott, 66, a charity worker, said: “It’s used as a rat run by people coming from the north, who want to weave their way through to the centre of London.
“Apps are diverting drivers and in the mornings there are hundreds of cars, which is not good for pollution.”
Green Party transport spokeswoman Caroline Russell said: “I’m getting complaints from inner London, outer London, all over the place, from people who are saying that they are disturbed by vehicles getting blocked and unable to pass each other on residential roads.
“Those roads are taking such a disproportionate amount of traffic because people using apps such as Waze are navigating their way through residential areas to avoid main road congestion.”
Waze did not respond to requests for comment on London rat runs.