Executive Spotlight: Josh Fried, Waze Carpool

Posted: 06/26/2019
Category: Member Spotlight

Waze is where people and technology meet to solve transportation challenges. It’s a platform that empowers communities to contribute road data, edit Waze maps, and carpool to improve the way we move about the world. Thanks to drivers everywhere, Waze is able to partner with municipalities and transit authorities to reduce traffic and congestion– leveraging current infrastructure while impacting city planning. A world with better transportation doesn’t have to be in the distant future. By harnessing the power of community to reverse negative trends in transportation, Waze can create a world where traffic is history.

What are you and your organization seeking to achieve?

Waze seeks to end traffic altogether. We’re in a unique position where we can connect the dots between drivers, riders, concerned citizens, and many others to do something about traffic and congestion. We’re empowering people to work together to reduce the number of cars on the road now. We want to help people use their personal cars smarter with Waze Carpool, but for it to be effective, it needs to have a critical mass in a respective local area. In time, as more riders and drivers sign up for Carpool, we expect this to become a new preferred option for commuters.

How did you get to where you are today?

The Google phase of my career is 8 years (and counting). I spent the first four years forging product-enabling partnerships to enhance the Google shopping experience for users, retailers and manufacturers. Since 2015, I’ve been building the Waze Carpool service, which started as a small pilot program only available to Google employees in Mountain View. Today, we’re a thriving ride-sharing marketplace serving carpoolers on 3 continents. It’s been a wild ride! (Pun intended)

How have you seen the TDM industry change?

The TDM industry has changed considerably in the past several years. The introduction of new automotive and GPS technology continues to affect the way traffic and transportation are managed.

Smartphones enabling GPS tools like Waze allow for real-time data sharing with cities, towns, and municipalities to more efficiently manage transportation and traffic on both a local and national scale. A major need in the TDM industry has been accurate and accessible data, and these improvements in technology now enable planners to be more informed than ever when approaching the challenge of moving people through cities and towns.

Where do you see the industry going in the next 10 years?

Traffic and congestion are at an all-time high in the US with 75% of commuters traveling to work in a car by themselves. I imagine this percentage decreasing in the next 10 years, thanks to not only improved infrastructure, but also the advancement of carpooling to reduce the number of cars on the road.

In the next 10 years, I imagine the industry becoming more connected, with people’s daily commute routines becoming more of a shared experience. Consumer loyalty to car ownership will fade away, as commuters have other options to commute that save money, time, and the environment.

New (and some existing) travel options will include carpool apps, ride-hailing services, fully autonomous cars, bike sharing, e-scooters, and more.

What keeps you motivated?           

I’m excited by the opportunity we have to make a positive difference for future generations by evolving how we move through the world. I know, I know, it sounds cliché, but I’m very motivated by Waze’s mission to change commuter behavior by making carpool a normal, everyday part of people’s lives. If we can carpool as often as we brush our teeth (just twice a day!), the planet will be a much better place for everyone.

What is a great piece of advice you have received? Have you put it to use?

My grandfather told me, on the eve of my thirteenth birthday, that my word — and by extension, my reputation — was my most valuable asset.

My first manager at Google told me to always show up, be credible, and add value.

I’ve put both of these guidelines to use over the course of my career, and I’m proud of the results.   

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