Waze City Spotlight: Paris

Twice as many people visit Disneyland Paris than the Eiffel Tower every year. 

 Image courtesy of wikimedia.org

Fridays tend to be “problem driving days” in most Western cities. This isn’t entirely surprising- n People leave work earlier on Fridays, or begin road trips for a weekend getaway. Fridays, by nature of the calendar, always precede long weekends.

Films, plays museum exhibits and other cultural happenings tend to open on Fridays. As a result, more people are “out” driving around (or being driven around) the city.

But for Paris, it’s all about the Wednesday.

Merciful Mercredi 

 

 

 

Like London, the worst day to drive last year in Paris was easily Halloween Friday: it took 89 minutes to go 28 kilometers. And like other European and North American cities, Friday is the most active day on average. So Friday is the worst day to drive, right?

Au contraire– the worst day to drive is Wednesday. 

The middle of the week is quite popular with the French. In a sharp cultural contrast to the rest of Europe, Wednesday has become akin to another Friday. In 1972, Wednesday became a mandatory mid-week day off for schools- part of a near-century tradition of allowing a single day for children to pursue religious studies.

Though in 2013 the French government modified the law to allow for morning classes on Wednesday, it did little to disestablish a nearly-40-year-old culture focused on Wednesdays.

Halloween is a big deal, both for Disneyland Paris and the city from which it gets its name.

On average, Wednesday has the worst length / time discrepancy at 24 kilometers vs. 42 minutes. June 4, November 19, December 3 and December 10 are the worst days for rain, fog, snow and traffic, respectively- and they’re all Wednesdays. Average speeds also decline in the middle of the week, rather than at the end of the week in most other cities.

On average, Wednesday has the worst length / time discrepancy at 24 kilometers vs. 42 minutes. June 4, November 19, December 3 and December 10 were the worst days for rain, fog, snow and traffic, respectively- and they’re all Wednesdays. Average speeds also decline in the middle of the week, rather than at the end of the week in most other cities.

You could work from home on Wednesdays, but if you have children chances are you’re not going to be at the house much since you’ll be driving them from activity to activity. And even if you don’t have children, it’s likely that the majority of your deadlines are Wednesdays. It’s just a cultural thing.

L’Assomption de Marie + Gay Paris

Though a major Catholic Holiday, many Parisians take vacation during L’Assomption de Marie in August.

Summer in Paris is a series of ups and downs.

In addition to Napoleon’s birthday, Friday, August 15 is L’Assomption de Marie, an annual religious holiday and the least active day on Waze all year, with only 72% of Wazers on the road. That entire weekend is quiet: August 15 has one of the lowest numbers of reports all year, and Sunday, August 17 has the highest average speeds at 67 km/h. If you want to get somewhere in Paris without traffic, drive on L’Assomption Weekend. But chances are if you’re Parisian you won’t be in Paris anyway-  locals take advantage of this holiday for their summer vacations, and since August 15 falls on a Saturday in 2015, you can expect the same this year.

Conversely, the most active day in Paris is Pride. Saturday, June 28 was the most active day all year, with 55% more Wazers than usual out and about. This is likely a result of the huge turnout for that day’s  2014 Gay Pride Parade (La Marche Des Fiertes), which proceeded down major roads like the Boulevards Saint-Michel and Saint-Germain and popular city plazas like the Place de la Bastille and Place de la République. The spike may also be attributable to Waze’s campaign to pre-populate road closures that weekend.

 

La Vie en Weather

Image courtesy of Flickr User melapela82

Because we live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s always interesting, yet unsurprising, to see how “Heavy Fog” dominates the other weather alerts. “Le brouillard” often affects visibility more than “la pluie”, as seen above. In Paris, it’s the second-most prevalent Weather Alert after “Heavy Rain”, and the Fall seems to be the worst time with November and October seeing the most reports.

May is the rainiest month in Paris according to Wazers, and December the snowiest. Snow tends to keep drivers off the road, but Parisians don’t seem deterred: there were no significant drops in usage related to winter weather. This may also be due to Paris having only 3 days of snow all year.

Paris by the numbers:

  • Total # User Reports Submitted in 2014: 23,096,292
    • % Traffic: 68%
    • % Accidents: <2%
  • Yearly Driven KM: 2,366,613,102
  • Average Drive Distance (M-F): 26 kilometers
  • Average Drive Time (M-F): 42 minutes
  • City Speed Limit: 50 km/h
  • Average Speed (M-F): 37 km/h
  • Most Active Date: Saturday, June 28 (notably, Gay Pride March)
  • Most Active Day of Week: Friday
  • Least Active Date: Friday, August 15 (notably, L’Assomption de Marie)
  • Least Active Day of Week: Sunday