Safety is a priority for any developer building applications for drivers and fleet operators. At Mapbox, we place safety at the forefront of our product development.
The new route notifications option in the Mapbox Directions API makes it easier for developers to add important safety features to their applications, including safety insights, road suitability checks, and detailed communications about route changes.
The Business of Safety
The logistics and consumer driving industries are rapidly evolving and businesses in both sectors must prioritize driver safety to stay competitive. The rise of the on-demand economy has led to a significant increase in delivery-based businesses, while consumer driving has shifted away from weekday commutes in favor of more weekend and recreational road travel. In fact, nearly 80% of American adults planned on taking a roadtrip last year, amounting to over 200 million people.
Navigation applications can help to improve driver safety, especially when tailored to the needs of particular fleets such as last mile delivery operators with heavy payloads, RV rental companies, or fleets with unique or oversized vehicles. Off the shelf consumer navigation applications are tailored for everyday cars. They often fall short at personalizing a user's navigation experience based on the unique vehicle’s needs. Things like vehicle height, weight, or payload are important criteria that must be considered.
“The Mapbox Directions API powers route creation within the Roadtrippers platform. With route notifications, our customers get warnings specific to their vehicle specifications, such as low height bridges along their prospective route. We also use point exclusion warnings to help RVers avoid roadways that have restrictions for vehicles carrying propane. Ultimately, Mapbox route notifications allow us to help our customers plan safe routes with greater confidence.”
- Tim Balzer, VP of Product, Roadtrippers
The cost of crashes for employers can be significant. According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), U.S. traffic crashes while on the job cost employers over $39 billion in 2019 alone. The business of safety is multifold and those who prioritize safety measures will experience cost savings, more drivers retained, and greater customer satisfaction.
Overcome Safety Challenges with Fast, Fresh Data
The main barrier to building effective driver safety features is finding reliable, accurate, and up-to-date data sources. Official government data sources are often incomplete, stale, and poorly documented. Navigation apps must also consider multiple complex scenarios such as unpaved roads, railway overpasses, tunnels, various bridge types, and regulations that vary by location.
“Our drivers need to navigate the unique legalities of Ontario which enforce weight restrictions on residential and rural roads, but still allow delivery trucks to drive on them as long as they take the shortest distance path to the destination. This combination of requirements used to interfere with our ability to generate complete routes to our customers. Thanks to the new route notifications feature in the Mapbox Directions API, we now have the flexibility we need, empowering drivers to acknowledge a weight restricted road along their route instead of being blocked or rerouted unnecessarily.”
– Eric Geiler, IT Specialist, A&B Courier
Mapbox is used by 700+ million users around the world and uses anonymized data from hundred of millions of connected devices to refresh the map on a daily. Mapbox provides the data needed to build industry-leading safety features. Developers and users also have the option to use Mapbox Contribute, an automated feedback process, to submit map feedback directly. With the new Route Notifications option in the Mapbox Directions API, developers have an even easier way to tap into Mapbox data to build customized safety features for their users.
Build with New Mapbox Notifications
The Mapbox Directions API supports 12 parameters for customizing route preferences. Users or developers may specify multiple route preferences for any trip such as maximum height, maximum weight, or exclude motorways. The Directions API will attempt to find a route that honors all requested route preferences, but if that becomes impossible then the Directions API will provide a route that includes notifications for potential hazards.
These new route notifications are delivered as additional metadata details returned in Directions API response when route preferences cannot be achieved. The following notifications are supported today:
- Height Restricted Roads
- Weight Restricted Roads
- Width Restricted Roads
- Unpaved/Dirt Roads
- Custom Location Exclusions
Additional notifications will be added in future and more details can be found in the Directions API documentation.
If you’re building navigation applications for drivers and want to improve driver safety, we’d love to connect -- get in touch with our Sales team today.