[Datashot] A Good Interchange for Israel

A quick story from home. 

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The interchange, as seen from space.

For those of you familiar with our origin story, you know that Israel’s dated and struggling infrastructure was in no small part responsible for the creation of Waze. Traffic is a persistent problem in this country, especially in or near metropolitan areas.

For the better part of 50 years, Israel has been building and adding to Highway 2, one of the busiest highways in all of Israel. The highway serves as a major commuter path for anyone traveling south from Haifa to cities like Netanya and Tel-Avid and surrounding areas. In fact, as many as 100,000 vehicles travel on this road every day. Recently, the Ministry of Transport completed a ₪160 million project to expand a section of the highway to three lanes on each side.

Life is a Highway 2

We looked at hourly usage and hourly speed for all activity going north and south for the month of March, trying to determine what kind of impact the new highway had on daily commuters, compared to weeks leading up to it. We plotted out the hourly average speed per user across all weekdays (Sunday through Thursday, In Israel). Once we filtered according to the dates preceding the completion of the extra lanes it was easy to compare the two:


The morning rush hour has improved considerably, with average speeds increasing through, historically, its worst part.

To put it into perspective, drivers headed south to Netanya and Tel-Aviv during the morning rush hour of 6am to 10am had an average speed of 75 km/h. Since the extra lanes have been opened, the average southbound speed during rush hour has increased by 17 km/h to a total of 92 km/h. And though the northbound speed has only increased by 7 km/h, that’s still a pleasant dip in the time it takes you to get home.

A few disclaimers: the dataset before the construction was completed could have been affected by the construction itself. With all lanes open and no barriers, speeds are very likely to increase. Additionally, Sunday March 29 began a kid’s vacation from school. Though this isn’t a work holiday, many Israelis do take time off from work anyway, which means there are less drivers on the road (which means speeds tend to increase). Southbound usage is actually higher than average during rush hour on Sunday, March 30 and Monday March 31st, which would normally impact speed negatively rather than positively.

In conclusion, congratulations to both the Ministry of Transport and the National Road Company- so far it’s working.

Any new construction in your neighborhood? Let us know in the comments, maybe we’ll look into it!