Every driver knows that annoying moment when you lose GPS signal every time you enter a tunnel. Navigation then turns into a haphazard guessing game, especially when faced with multiple exits and only a split second to make a decision.
Tech to the rescue
At TRX, solving this problem was a priority alongside roadworks construction, rather than an afterthought. The highly-connected future CBD of Malaysia will come complete with tunnels and road infrastructure boasting direct access to major highways such as the SMART Tunnel, Maju Expressway (MEX) and the future Setiawangsa-Pantai Expressway (SPE), as well as connections to Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Sultan Ismail via many ingress and egress points.
Seamless navigation and top-notch road safety are thus a priority, and this is where the Waze Beacons Program comes in. TRX City Sdn Bhd has partnered with Waze to install Bluetooth®-enabled hardware devices, known as Waze Beacons, across TRX’s underground roads leading to car parks in the development.
“We are thrilled to partner with Waze to put Waze Beacons to the test. Our underground roads are an ideal test ground as they lead out to key exits, and we look forward to enhancing TRX’s level of services. Ensuring seamless connectivity is critical to support TRX’s status as an international financial hub,” said Dato’ Azmar Talib, CEO of TRX City Sdn Bhd.
The Waze Beacons Program will help ensure a safe, smooth and uninterrupted navigation experience throughout the commute, helping to realise the TRX master plan of making the district the best-connected address in Kuala Lumpur.
First of its kind
Launching Waze Beacons in the TRX multi-level tunnel system will make it easier for drivers to navigate underground areas with multiple exits and roundabouts during periods of poor connection, and prevent traffic confusion and congestion. At the end of the day, the system will help to ensure better location services and better visibility of real-time traffic events, which goes a long way to increasing overall road safety.
The programme, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, works by leveraging Bluetooth® connectivity underground to help drivers when there is limited GPS signal reception. The Waze Beacons, installed and owned by TRX City, consists of battery-operated, low-energy microcontroller hardware installed on the tunnel walls. They work by emitting a wireless signal that can be received by any Bluetooth®-enabled phone or tablet. Drivers won’t even need to install the Waze app to take advantage of this service.
“No matter the navigation apps used, Waze Beacons technology is open and free to use, and we ultimately hope to empower road users to outsmart traffic together,” said Gil Disatnik, Head of the Waze Beacons Program.
Waze Beacon devices are being installed across TRX’s Basements 2 and 3 which have up to 3 and 21 decision points respectively, leading to parking spaces and various connecting roads and highways.
Model for the future
Waze’s collaboration with TRX is set to serve as a pilot-scale project for other parts of Kuala Lumpur.
“The Waze team and I are pleased to bring the Waze Beacons Program to Malaysia, the first Southeast Asian country to adopt the technology,” Disatnik said. "Seamless navigation can be enjoyed in TRX when its underground roads are open to the public, but this is just the beginning and we hope to expand into more areas nationwide across Malaysia soon.
Waze Malaysia Country Lead, Kelvin Sim echoed a similar sentiment: “It is exciting to bring the Beacons program to Malaysia and represents a tremendous milestone for the country and for Southeast Asia. Through Waze Beacons, we hope to reduce drivers’ hesitation and confusion stemming from signal loss and reduce traffic congestion and frustration on the road.”
Waze Beacons was launched in 2016 and has been successfully rolled out in countries such as the USA, Brazil, France, Italy, Australia, Norway and the Czech Republic, covering a total of roughly 160 miles of tunnels and roadways worldwide.