Drivers in Los Angeles pride themselves on their ability to strategize the daily commute. Every day presents a new challenge: Find the best shortcut, the secret alternative route, to shave off precious minutes from a cruel trek. "Saturday Night Live's" "The Californians" is played for laughs, but it rings true.
As a reporter in Los Angeles for the last 27 years, I thought I knew every backstreet, every shortcut.
Then I discovered Waze.
It changed my life.
Waze is a GPS app owned by Google which crowd-sources commuting patterns of its users (called Wazers) and provides the quickest path from point A to B. Once one route gets too crowded, Waze is supposed to move you to a newer, faster path. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. It provides users with an estimated time of arrival which, in my experience, has been exceptionally accurate.
It's also ticked off residents in neighborhoods that suddenly find themselves popular thoroughfares.