Real time closures

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Revision as of 17:35, 25 June 2017 by PesachZ (talk | contribs) (Understanding closures with an end date circa 1970: changed to start date)


Do NOT use any of the tools discussed on this page for lane closures. These methods of controlling traffic flow are only to be used when a segment is completely closed (temporarily) in one or both directions to all public through traffic.


Roads on the map often need to be closed for a variety of reasons including but not limited to planned construction, large-scale events, and emergency closures for accidents or natural disasters. These are called Real-Time Closures and will be discussed in detail on this page.


Controlling traffic flow

There are several mechanisms to prevent Waze from routing traffic over specific roads. The method used depends on the reason to prevent the traffic flow. Here is a brief overview of the various mechanisms available for controlling traffic flow on specific roads. For specific details on any of these mechanisms, please see the corresponding wiki pages linked below.

  • Closure arrow in WME.png
    Closure report button in client.png
    Real time closures (this page) — Should be used when a road is temporarily unusable, but does not need modification (including turn restrictions). These display in the client and Live Map with alerts and candy stripes on the segments to notify users of the closures in real-time (no wait for tile updates), and prevent routing during the closure time on these segments. Due to its safety (protecting the map), and its visibility (in the client and Live Map), this is the preferred method of closing a road.
    Real-Time Closures can be submitted in a variety of methods, discussed in detail further on this page:
  • Restriction arrow yellow mouseover.gif
    Partial restrictions (AKA Scheduled or Time-Based Restrictions) - Used when turns or roadways are restricted at certain times of day, days of the week, vehicle types, etc. These have the ability to only restrict during a specific date range, but should NOT be used in place of Mega Traffic Events or Real-Time Road Closures.
  • Road types Certain road types (Private, Parking Lot Road, Dirt Road/4X4 Trail) will automatically prevent routing and should be used when appropriate for permanent situations.
  • Disconnect road segments — Road segments should only be physically disconnected if the road is no longer intended to connect or is being permanently removed. When a road is disconnected it becomes absolutely unroutable, and all stored speed data for the junctions are lost. This should be done with the support of a senior editor. In the past, this method was used for longer term construction projects, but now the Road Closure feature should be used.

Real time closures

This is the preferred method for closing roads due to its map safety and visibility to Wazers.

The editing community can be informed about these closures by:

  • URs/MPs submitted through the app
  • Knowledge of local happenings
  • Notification from the local community / Waze Major Traffic Event Team
  • Long-term closures

All Real-Time Closures follow the same general principles below, regardless of which method is used to submit them. Depending on which method is used there are additional guidance and instructions in the corresponding unique subsections below.

Real Time Closures can be added to Waze in four ways:

As mentioned above, if the closure is part of an event which will be impacting a large number of people in your area (i.e., major highway closed, city-wide marathon, natural disaster) please be sure to submit the MTE form first.


Connected Citizens Program

Through the Connected Citizens Program, Waze shares and receives information from select entities which partner with Waze. This information can include Road Closures which are submitted to WME directly by Waze staff. To ease the burden of teaching and submitting closures, Wazers are encouraged to promote these relationships with their local governing entities.


Map safety and client visibility

This feature is safer for the map than other methods of controlling traffic flow for a number of reasons.

  • It allows editors to temporarily prevent routing over specific segments, without having to make any changes to, or damage those segments, and their road types, junctions, or turn restrictions.
  • The history of the segment is preserved.
  • When the RTC is removed, proper routing can be restored immediately, without waiting for a tile update.
  • A road closed with an RTC will be continually evaluated for through traffic. If enough traffic is detected driving through a closure, the closure is temporarily deactivated until the traffic is no longer detected. Therefore if an RTC is mistakenly placed on an open segment it will only affect drivers for a few minutes until the through traffic is detected, and the closure deactivated automatically.
  • Real Time Closures are visible in Live Map, and the Waze app with special alert icons, and segment highlighting. They are also visible in WME with special icons.


General closure guidance

Illustrated slideshow

This slideshow was prepared by Waze staff to show how to add a closure in WME. It contains information on which segments to select as part of a closure as well. The information in this slide show is also presented throughout this page in text.


Real time closures vs. partial restrictions

Many major roads have ongoing restrictions, which are based on day of the week or time of day. Some examples include:

  • No Left Turn between 12:00pm-6:00pm
  • No passenger cars on weekdays

For these types of restrictions, please see the Partial Restrictions page on the Wiki.

If a road is closed with a Real Time Closure, there is no need to duplicate the Closure with an additional Partial Restriction (AKA Time-Based Restriction) for traveling across the segment, or change any turn restrictions. (This also helps preserve the map, as soon as the Temporary Closure expires or is canceled, the map will route as it's supposed to.)


Usernames and closures

Livemap closure alert.png
Adding a Temporary Closure does not put your name as the last editor for the segment (Updated By: user (#)), however you can see who added a closure by looking at the alert in Live Map or the client.


Junctions and cross traffic

When adding a Real-Time Closure, consider whether any cross traffic will be blocked as well. Often in work zones and for special events (parades, marathons, festivals), cross traffic is not allowed at one or more junctions.

Waze will not route through a closed segment. However, it will route up to the nearest end of a closed segment to reach a destination within it. Waze will also route out of the most convenient end of a closed segment if the user starts within it. If traffic going across your Real-Time Closure must be blocked at a junction, you will need to close at least one of the cross street segments as well.

  • Regular cross-streets
  • Close two-way cross-street segments on either side of the closed intersection. Each segment should be closed in the direction traveling away from the closed junction.
  • Close one-way cross-street segments on the side traveling away from the closed junction.
Closing both segments will prevent routing across the junction to reach a destination or leave a starting point, regardless of the user's position in relation to that junction.
  • Median segments of closed divided roadways
  • When both directions of a divided roadway are closed and cross traffic is disallowed, consider closing only the median segment.
When cross traffic between the lanes of a divided roadway is prohibited, closing the median segment will prevent routing to destinations on the far side of the divided roadway.
Examples link to this section
Click expand on the right side here to see Example scenarios with illustrations.
New Year's Day Parade in RTC Town
RTC Town has scheduled a parade down Main St on January 1 starting at 13:00 and ending at 14:00. Traffic must not be allowed to travel along Main St or cross at any intersection.
Select the parade route on Main St and set a two-way closure between 13:00 and 14:00 on January 1.
Plum Rd is a two-way cross-street, Orchard Rd, and Mulberry St are one-way cross-streets. To route traffic to the correct sides of these streets, the segments north and south of Main St should be set with one-way closures between 13:00 and 14:00 in the direction traveling away from their junction with Main St.
The completed set of closures in this example would look like those on the right. We’re all set to watch the parade!
Divided road closed for construction
Willow St will be closed for two weeks for construction. So we set a closure for the length of both carriageways.
Cherry Ave crosses Willow St in a ‘H’ configuration. In this case, we need to close only the median segment to prevent traffic from being routed through the intersection or to the wrong side of Willow. Note, we set no closures on Rose St because it is a T-intersection.

Lane closures and construction zones

For situations where only some lanes are closed but the road is still driveable, and general road construction situations, refer to that article for additional specific information.

DO NOT use Real-Time Closures for roads which only have some lanes closed.


Web based closure guidance

Dates and times

All Real-Time Closures are set using the ISO-8601 "extended format".

Put simply this means whenever entering a date, it should be in the format of YYYY-MM-DD. The YYYY is the four digit year, MM is the two digit month, and DD is the two digit day of the month. (For example March 15th, 2015 would be entered as 2015-03-15.)

Whenever entering a time, it should be using the 24-hour clock, in the format of HH:MM:SS. The HH is the two digit hour, MM is the two digit minute, and SS is the two digit seconds. The seconds may be optional depending on the feature you are using. (For example 2:53 pm will be entered as 14:53.)

In the 24 hour clock, the first 12 hours of the day from midnight until 11:59 am, are represented as 00:00 - 11:59. The second twelve hours of the day from noon until 11:59 pm, are represented as 12:00 - 23:59. To make it easy to remember, any time in the AM hours, is just the same (with a leading zero for the first nine single digit hours). Any time in the PM hours, add 12 to the hour (so 2 pm becomes 14 by doing the following: 2+12=14).

The minute of midnight can be represented both as 00:00, and as 24:00 depending on if it is connected to the previous day (24:00), or the new day just beginning (00:00). For example Monday 24:00 is the same minute as Tuesday 00:00. To prevent confusion you should avoid using 00:00, or 24:00 as a closure time, instead use 23:59, or 00:01. The one minute delta from the scheduled time will not be significant enough to impact any routing issues in that area.


Start and end time settings
Clock.png
Be careful choosing closure times. 00:00 is the first minute of a day, 23:59 is the last minute of a day. A closure entered as ending on Jan 1st at 00:00 will open the road for the entire day of Jan 1st, while if it is entered as 23:59 would leave the road closed for that entire day. To prevent ambiguity for closure times try not to use 00:00 and instead use 00:01 for the start of a day and 23:59 for the end of a day.
  • Real-time Closures are active for the full minute they are set for.
    • A Closure set for Start: 03:00 - End: 03:01, will actually be closed for 119 seconds, from 03:00:00 - 03:01:59.
    • A closure set for Start: 03:00, End: 04:00, will actually be closed for 60 minutes and 59 seconds, from 03:00:00 - 04:00:59.


Time zone

All times entered are in the local time zone of the segment being closed. If you are in one time zone, and are submitting a closure for a segment in another time zone, use the start and end times in the time zone where the segment is located.


Setting long-term closures

NOTE: Temporary Closures must not be longer than 6 calendar months (183 days to be precise).

To enter a Temporary Closure longer than 6 months, split it into multiple Temporary Closures. Each Temporary Closure entered should be less than 6 months. For example, a one-year Temporary Closure from 2014-12-01 through 2015-11-30 can be entered as two individual Temporary Closures.

  1. 2014-12-01 - 2015-05-31 (182 days)
  2. 2015-06-01 - 2015-11-30 (183 days)


Maximum closure duration

The maximum length for a Real-Time Closure is one year.

The end date for a closure cannot be set for more than one year from the current date. Even if the closure is less than 6 months long, it must end before one year from the current date. Otherwise, you will get an error from the server. "(!) end time is too far in the future for road closure -103"

Report closure feature in the Waze app


Users in the client app can mark an unexpected road closure they see while driving. It is typically used for unexpected, short-term closures of up to a few days. This feature requires multiple users to be at the location to enter the same road closure information on the map before it will be seen by other drivers.

Instructions on how to use this feature in the Waze app is available in the Waze Help Center.

App reported closures in WME

Any closures reported from the Waze app are visible and can be manipulated in the Waze Map Editor. Waze app reported closures do not have an effect on routing until enough users report the same segment closed. However, if an editor sees it in WME and edits it, the RTCs then take effect immediately. For all the details on the display and handling of app-reported closures in WME, please see the section below that explains the WME aspect of these closures.

Major Traffic Events (MTEs)


If a road closure is part of a larger event, it can be submitted to Waze as a Major Traffic Event (MTE). MTEs are generally determined by the scale of the event and how many people will be impacted. The closures should be submitted using the MTE sheets provided or the WME Closure tool (available to editors rank 3 and above). This way Waze is able to track the closures and help spread the word.

To receive further support from Waze (website and/or push + inbox message) for an MTE closure, the event must be submitted through the MTE submission form below.

To notify Waze of an upcoming event in your area, use the MTE Submission Form. Helpful information to have for submissions are as follows:

  • Name of Event
  • Website for event
  • Roads which will be affected (not required)
  • Location
  • Start and End Date
  • Start and End Time (if available)

All MTE submissions are posted to the Waze Mini Site (if the mini site gives an error try refreshing the page) so that other editors in your area can find the name for an event and mark the closure consistently.

The closures for each MTE are submitted in a unique Google Sheets spreadsheet. If you need access to a particular event spreadsheet, request access in the spreadsheet and it will be granted by Waze HQ.


Support for Major Traffic Events

Once the submitted event is reviewed, the submitter receives an MTE closure sheet and further instruction on how to provide all of the information needed to properly close the affected roads.

Once the closure sheet is fully completed, the closure will be live in the app.

Waze further supports some MTEs by providing local push notifications, inbox messages, social media announcements and/or website features on the Major Events page on Waze.com.

MTEs are likely to be announced on the Major Events website and/or via inbox + push message if the event affects a significant portion of the local population. For your event to be considered for inclusion in the following week's push/inbox messaging, all closure information must be received by the Wednesday prior to the event.

A closure may not appear in the app if Waze is unable to obtain the proper information, either through user-completed closure sheets or if other resources cannot be found.

WME closure feature


This is the preferred method for closing roads due to its map safety and visibility to Wazers. The feature allows editors to temporarily prevent routing over specific segments, without having to make any changes to, or damage those segments and their junctions.

With this tool, closures can be entered directly in WME, and is visible almost immediately in the client and Live Map. It is displayed prominently on the map as a closure alert, and with red and white candy stripe lines along the closed segments.


Closure feature permissions

This feature is restricted to rank 3 editors and above. Under special circumstances, your RC (or a state or territory manager in your area), has the ability to grant an RTC area to users of various ranks so they can access the feature. Contact your local RC if you believe you require such access.

Alternatively, If you do not have the required rank to access the Closure feature in WME, you can ask a higher ranking editor to implement the closures for you. It can be submitted like any other unlock/update request in the Road Closures Form. You can also ask a higher ranked editor directly in a PM, or WME Chat.

Step by step instructions to add a closure

  1. Select the segments you want to close.
  2. Click the Add Closure button in the left panel.
  3. Click to + Add Closure and fill out the fields shown:
Location - This field will auto-populate to name of affected street. If multiple streets are selected, add a general description of the area (name of the road, the interchange, or the area if several roads in a known area are being closed). This section is NOT view-able in the client app, it is only seen in the WME.
Reason - This section will be viewable in both the client app and the Live Map. Write a description of closure / event here. Once supported, #hashtags will go here.
Direction - Closure direction should be noted carefully (using the A and B nodes for reference). Close one-way direction on a two-way road here.
Event - This field is not currently active, please ignore.
Start/End Date & Time - Enter date/time the closure will remain active (the start date can be a date in the past). Enter local time for the area of the map you are editing. Time is entered in 24-hour format and date uses the YYYY-MM-DD format. NOTE: End date can not be more than 183 days after the start date. (see the section Start and end time settings for more information.)
Add closure details.png


Saving your work

Save & Check in the live map. Active closures will appear with red closure icons in WME, and with closure alerts bubbles and red and white (candy stripe) road segment highlighting in Livemap immediately.

Inactive closures will appear with gray closure icons in WME only. They do not appear at all in Live Map or the Waze app.

A closure cannot be entered along with any other saves (similar to saving with House Numbers). If you have any edits pending a save and try to add a Temporary Closure you will get an error. Be sure to save before trying to add a Temporary Closure.


WME closure feature guidance

Closing recently edited segments

Real-Time Closures entered using this feature are not subject to waiting for a tile update, they will go live almost immediately. However, since the Real-Time Closures are effected on the segments and nodes as they are now in the current live map, they don't work on segments and nodes which are not already included in the current tile build. If you enter a Real-Time Closure for a segment which has been modified enough (e.g. changed the segment ID, node ID, or junction location) since the last tile update, the Real-Time Closure would be corrupted and not functioning properly until after the next tile update.

To protect against this, if you try to close a new or modified segment before the tiles update, the closure will not save and WME will display an error (!) Element Segment with ID xxxxxxxx was not found (probably deleted). Wait till after the changes are included in a tile build, and then enter the closure again and it should save fine.


Closing multiple segments

Real-Time Closures can be added to multiple segments simultaneously by selecting all the affected segments first. Be careful to verify all the segments after you save that the Real-Time Closures were added properly. It's been reported before when multiple Real-Time Closures were added at once, that some of the segments either weren't closed, or had incorrect details in the closure (e.g. direction).


Segment direction for one-way closures

If only some of the segments are one-way, or some one-way segments are in opposing direction (B-A, A-B), you can set the Closure as two-way for all the segments. When you save you will see an error line for each direction of a closed segment which failed to save because the segment is one-way. You can ignore the error, and all your segments should be closed in all possible directions. (Be sure to double check them all.)


Editing closed segments

NOTE: If a segment is closed using this feature, the segment will not be editable by any editors - regardless of rank - while the closure is in effect. This is by design, to prevent any changes to segment and junction node IDs which will corrupt the closure.

If you need to edit the segment, you will have to first remove the Temporary Closure (copy the details first), then modify the segment and save. If the edit did not alter the segment or junction node IDs, you can immediately replace the Temporary Closure with the details you copied to the appropriate segments. If you altered any segment or junction node IDs, you will have to wait until after the next tile update before reentering the Temporary Closure.


Understanding closures with a start date circa 1970

Note: As of 2017 App reported closures show this style date as the start date, while end dates can set by choosing a duration in the client. As of May 2015 Waze has recently changed the user interface, so you should not see these anymore. You will instead see the closure marked as end date "Not set" (see the next section). It is possible that there are some existing closures that use the old format described in this section, or that not all servers have been updated to use the new interface described in the next section.

When a mobile user submits a Closure Report through the app report menu, Waze puts it on the map as a closure, similar to a manually-entered closure. Unlike WME-entered reports, the app supports submitting closures without indicating an end date/time. These are recorded with a "null" date time, which in Unix, by convention (as described below), is midnight of January 1,1970. Because Waze uses the UTC time zone, this may be ±1-13 hours different from your local time.

In the Unix operating systems a time is encoded as the number of seconds passed since January 1, 1970. A "null" date will be zero seconds passed and show a date time of 1970-01-01T00:00 UTC. Adjusted for time zones, and you could have a date-time anywhere from 1969-12-31T12:00, to 1970-01-01T12:00, or one hour more when adjusted for Daylight Saving (Summer) Time.


Closures with end date "Not set"

You may occasionally see an RTC in WME with an end date of "Not set" (or set in 1969-1970 in the older style described above).

  • These may not be actively affecting routing in Live Map or the Waze app.
  • They may be submitted by any rank user, even if the user is below the rank to have RTC permission.
  • There may be more than one of this type of closure overlapping for the same segment and direction.

These are Closures reported from within the Waze app.

A Closure reported from the Waze app does not include an end date in it. These closures are therefore reported to WME with no assigned end date.

The closure anomalies listed above are a result of the following:

  • Closures reported from the client app don't immediately affect routing until there are multiple identical reports.
  • They can be reported by any rank user.
  • Multiple reports are required to activate them.
  • More than one report can exist on the same segment.

These closures are editable by editors in WME who have permission to use the RTC feature. If you do edit and/or delete one of these app-reported RTCs, the effects are seen immediately. If you change the end date, the RTC will immediately start affecting traffic like any regular RTC.

If there are multiple app-reported RTCs on a segment, an error will be generated when trying to edit and save changes to one of them. You will need to locate the duplicate entry or entries and remove them before being able to save changes to the one entry.

Closure sheets


There are generally two types of Closure Sheets:

  • Regional Closure Sheets supplied by Waze staff and shared with the community leadership.
  • Supported Major Traffic Events are also processed using a unique closure sheet for each MTE.

These Closure Sheets have some unique advantages over submitting closures directly in WME, and also have some unique guidelines listed below. They still also follow all the general guidance for Real-Time Closures listed above.


Closure sheets vs closure feature in WME

Real-Time Closures which could just as easily be submitted using the Closure feature in WME, shouldn't be submitted using the Regional Closure Sheets. If there is some feature of submitting them through the Regional Closure Sheet easier somehow, then it is fine to use the Regional Closure Sheets for them. The Regional Closure Sheets may also have some features not yet available in WME, closures utilizing those features should be submitted through the sheets.


Closure sheets upload schedule

Real-time closures submitted through WME are processed and go live immediately. Closures submitted through a regional sheet are manually uploaded by Waze staff on a daily schedule. This is another benefit of submitting RTCs through WME instead when possible.

Waze staff receive an alert of certain changes to the closure sheets three times per day at the following hours:

  • 05:00 UTC
  • 13:30 UTC
  • 17:00 UTC

If there have been no qualifying changes to the sheet, Waze staff will not receive the scheduled alert. Closures submitted to the spreadsheet 5 min after they upload them, will not be seen by Waze staff until the next alert.

The alert is generated when changes are made to the currently active sheet (tab) in the workbook. This is usually the sheet on the left (for regional spreadsheets this is the sheet named for the current month). Changes that trigger the alert are setting the cell in the status column to one of the following:

  • "Ready for upload"
  • "Canceled event"
  • "Updated Details"

For urgent closures which must be uploaded or changed immediately, and cannot be submitted through WME, you can "add a comment" to it in the sheet and write "URGENT", or any other descriptive text so they know to handle immediately.

When you add a comment by right-clicking on a cell in the sheet, Waze staff get a separate alert with the text of the comment after a few minutes.

Closures are not uploaded the minute the alert is received by Waze staff, but they do try. There may be delays because this is a manual process. If something is urgent, be sure to add the comment as mentioned above for priority handling.

How to submit a closure using a sheet

Many aspects of submitting a Real-Time Closure in a sheet are the same as other forms of submission. However, because the sheets are not part of the Waze ecosystem, there are some important differences. Not all Closure Sheets are identical, but they all follow the same general principals:

Username - You must enter your exact Waze Username as it appears in WME and the Forum. This allows Waze staff and the community leadership to contact you for any updates as necessary.
Permalink - You have to provide a permalink which selects all the segments you wish to close. See the Permalink article for details on how to create a Permalink which has the segments selected.

There may be other elements you are asked to provide to make use of some advanced features of the Closure Sheets. There will usually be some instructions and guidelines included somewhere in the sheet.

The Closure Sheets are processed by scripts and contain formulas which automatically perform functions and calculations on the data you submit. To make sure you don't break the sheets, please be careful never to type or paste anything in the columns of the sheet labeled "DO NOT EDIT" in the header row.

Closures not displayed on the map

Real-Time Closures entered using this feature are not subject to waiting for a tile update. They will go live as soon as they are uploaded by Waze. However, if you enter a Real-Time Closure for a segment which has been modified enough (e.g. changed the segment ID, node ID, or junction location) since the last tile update, the Real-Time Closure will not work until the new segment changes go live.

When entered through a Regional Closure Google Sheet, the alert bubbles will likely show in the new location of the nodes, but the candy stripe and routing effects won't be implemented until the segment changes are live after the next tile update.