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Calculating when you need to leave for an appointment isn’t just a matter of looking at the distance between your current location and your destination; you have to consider the time of day, traffic conditions and street closures as well.

An update to the Google-owned crowdsourced navigation app today automatically calculates when you should leave, adding another helpful feature to one of the smartest traffic and navigation apps around.

Waze’s Planned Drives feature allows users to enter important appointments in the app ahead of time and Waze will monitor route conditions to let the user know exactly when to leave. The update is available on iOS today and an update to the Android app is in the works.

With Planned Drives, users search for an address or destination and a new icon on the trip preview screen allows them to save that trip for a later date. Right now, the app lets users schedule drives up to a week out.

Image via Waze
Image via Waze

The new feature also builds on Waze’s ability to scan your calendar for events. By allowing users to pick out just the important appointments, Waze’s notifications will get a lot more helpful.

While the old calendar feature worked for appointments with an exact address, it often failed if there were place names or other complications in the location field. The Planned Drives update lets users manually set those addresses so Waze can alert them when it is time to leave.

Other navigation apps have leveraged calendar access to tell users when to leave, but Waze’s ability to customize planned trips paired with its crowdsourced traffic smarts may make Planned Drives the best solution available.

If the appeal of Waze is still a mystery to you, check out GeekWire’s recent Generation App episode on the subject. As I note in the episode, I’m a daily user of the Waze app. While it may be controversial to some, getting to your appointments on time may convince you to get on the Waze bandwagon.

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