Waze City Spotlight: Jakarta

Jaya Raya. 


After a short break involving city-paralyzing snowstorms and reveling Catholics, we are back to our deep examinations of driving behaving in major world cities. Though we began with London and Paris, today we travel to the opposite side of the world for an in-depth look at the bustling capital of Indonesia, the largest city in Southeast Asia, the “Big Durian” itself: Jakarta.

Driving in Jakarta is challenging. In 2012, the Public Works Ministry estimated that people there take close to 20 million trips a day around the city. Compare that to New York Taxicabs, which take less than half a million per day. Jakarta is actually the 2nd most populous urban area in the entire world, with almost 31 million people who live in the greater Jakarta area. As many as 4,000,0000 commute into the city where they work, though they’re probably not getting anywhere quickly.

Going Nowhere Fast, or Everywhere Slow

The average daily speed in Jakarta is just under 19 km/h, or comfortable bicycle cruising speed. When you omit the “higher than average” weekend speeds (22 km/h), the daily weekday average drops to below 18 km/h, and it doesn’t matter which day of the week. They’re all bad.

A typical day of traffic in Jakarta. 

There were less drivers on Tuesday than any other day, but only about 5% less than average. Saturday was the biggest day of the week, with around 20% more drivers on the road. Wednesday must be a rough mid-week commute as it had the longest drive times (43 minutes) and the slowest average speed (<18km/h)- never a great combination. More accidents were reported on Saturdays, but Wednesday “won” nearly every other report, including weather, construction, road closures and traffic jams.

Holidays & Holy Days

The people of Jakarta really come together for their holidays, secular or religious. The most active day of the entire year was October 25, the first day of the Islamic New Year, with a 123% increase in drivers on the road. Jakarta evidently holds cultural and religious festivals all across the city. Despite the huge surge of activity, speeds were 14% higher than normal with corresponding drops in drive time and increases in drive distances (getting further, faster). As we’ve seen during parades and festivals, this was likely a result of locals “knowing what’s up”.

But being a local wouldn’t save you from the surrounding days, which were probably the worst driving days of the entire year. If you were driving Monday, October 27 in 2014, it would have taken you twice as long (76 minutes) to go just 13km, traveling a leisurely pace of 10 kilometers an hour, just around Preferred Walking Speed for most people. By Halloween Friday, drivers were traveling just over 9 km/h, which most children could outrun.

Even though 84% of Jakarta identifies as Islamic, there are still gigantic non-Islamic and international holiday celebrations like Christmas, New Year’s Eve and even Chinese New Year’s, making those days some of the most active all year. But the second-most popular holiday in Jakarta (at least, one that results in massive congestion and traffic) is the celebration of Indonesian Independence.

Indonesian Independence may be one of the few days where there are no cars on this street.

Wednesday through Saturday was already a rough time to be driving, but with one of the biggest holidays of the year taking place at the same time, it got even worse. August 13 – 16 had anywhere from 22% – 68% more drives, all of which were 25% slower and shorter than normal. With the many celebrations and events around the city, on top of everyone still working, this was likely not a great time to try to get from place to place in a car. “Good news” though: On August 17, the day itself, traffic in Jakarta was perfectly normal.

By contrast, Ramadan was a great time to drive. Only 50% of drivers drove on the first day of Ramadan, June 29, 2014, which also had 35% faster speeds despite drives being more than 10% longer than the previous two weeks. Throughout Ramadan, speeds actually increase to daily averages of almost 30 km/h, the number of drives per day is consistently lower and alerts decreaseOur data shows that Ramadan may be the best time to drive all year. A study even suggests that Muslim adults are better drivers during Ramadan. Enjoy it while is lasts then, because when Ramadan finishes traffic, usage, alerts etc jump right back up to where they were before. On the day Ramadan ended people in Jakarta drove 145% more kilometers on that day, making it the most driven day of 2014.

Raindrops keep falling on my roads

“The relief area is just past that guy standing in the middle of the flood with a camera.” 


To add to the long list of Jakartan ails, there’s also Monsoon season, lasting from as early as November to as late as March. Unsurprisingly, these are also the months where Wazers report the most weather alerts, including the “Flood” alert.

On January 15 and 21, 2014, there was a 170% and 188% increase in alerts, the majority of them “Heavy Rain” alerts (quite the understatement).

Unlike what we’ve observed in cities like Boston, New York and Atlanta, severe weather doesn’t seem to affect the driving patterns of people in Jakarta. Usage was at least average, and on the two January days described above usage actually increased by 50% more than normal. November, December and February topped the list for the most weather alerts, despite being some of the most “flooded months”. Maybe it’s a different state of mind, or maybe the people in Jakarta using Waze aren’t actually driving, but aiding in the relief effort by reporting the areas near them that are flooded or impassable to help other drivers still stuck on the roads. This is certainly backed up by the the use of other technology, like Twitter, to crowdsource information about emergency situations and assist in relief and education efforts during crises.

A Challenging City

Jakarta has a long list of challenges. All of the difficulties listed above are major reasons why Jakarta was one of the first Waze Connected Citizens Partners. The government there understands that the city is only going to become more populous; that flooding will never go away; that holidays like Islam New Year will always put burden the city’s already-strained infrastructure- and they want to do whatever they can to improve it. Even better, they’re looking to technology like Waze to provide them data and accessibility, a bridge between citizens and progress, to inform the future of the Big Durian.

Back in October, we put together a visualization of single day in Jakarta. There’s no Rush Hour in Jakarta- it’s a Rush Day.