What 2 years of Google’s data say about the state of Maine’s roads

Waze is a pretty cool service that lets you warn other drivers on the road about oncoming obstacles, like construction, traffic or cops.

I used it a lot traveling last year. It breaks up the monotony of the endless highway, and you actually get points for spotting obstructions and warning drivers behind you.  (“Ooh! Disabled vehicle on the shoulder! Disabled vehicle on the shoulder!”)

The company, which Google bought in 2013, has a lot of good data. And Google employee Simon Rogers took two years of that data (from 2013 to 2015) and mapped it on the state level.

Now, it’s important to point out that this is just what Waze users report. It’s not reflective of the actual number of car accidents or construction. But the company had a reported 36 million drivers share 90 million reports in 2012 across 110 countries. So. There’s that.

Here are a few takeaways from this data about Maine (the rankings are based on the share of each type of alert.)

  • Just over 20 percent of Waze reports in Maine were for construction, the sixth highest percentage in the country.
  • It’s 14th for accident alerts by that measure, with 3.2 percent.
  • As you might expect, there weren’t that many reports of traffic jams. The state ranked 38th.
  • 42.5 percent of alerts in Maine are for hazards in the road, making it 20th in the country.

Surprisingly, road quality didn’t really come into play all that much: only 1.4 percent of reports were for potholes — even though a recent study found that Maine was among the top 10 worst states for its banged-up roads. That just means that Waze users here probably aren’t taking the time to report every pothole they hit.

Below are some of the maps that Rogers built. You can click around on them to see how they compare with other states.


Traffic jams

Hazards on the road


Pot holes

Road kill

Missing road signs


Featured homepage photo courtesy of Alicia Anstead

Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.