Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

We invite you to join Kal Gyimesi on Twitter on Monday, September 12, at Noon EDT for a chat about Smarter Transportation. Join in the conversation at #2011CommuterPain.

After enduring just a few painstaking minutes of traffic during a typical weekday rush hour, how many of us have wondered:

Why didn’t I leave the house earlier to get to work? How many points is my blood pressure rising while thinking about my growing to-do list? Why haven’t I talked to my manager yet about telecommuting? How much longer do I really have to sit through this?

IBM recently conducted its annual traffic survey – polling 8,042 commuters in 20 cities on six continents – to try and assess the emotional and environmental impacts of commuting.

The most eye-opening finding from the survey was that while the commute has become more bearable in many cities, the perceptions of pain it causes have steadily increased. Drivers around the world are clearly frustrated by sitting in crawling stop-and-go traffic, but IBM’s research is showing that the root of these frustrations could be driven by larger economical and societal influences.  It’s not that surprising that a few, prolonged minutes on the beltway can induce the feeling of being “left behind” in today’s fast-paced and competitive economy.

FINAL 2011 Commuter Pain Index 300 dpi

Read about some of the findings after the jump.

A Snapshot of How Commuters Are Feeling the “Pain”

  • 91% of the respondents WW got stuck in traffic over the past 3 years
  • 41% of people believe that the traffic has become worse over the past 3 years, compared to 34% who believe it has improved
  • Commuters in Bangalore, New Delhi, Beijing, and Shenzhen showed the highest percentage of people claiming improvement, while Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Paris, Milan, Moscow, and Johannesburg showed the highest percentage reporting decline.
  • Workers in Mexico, India, China and Africa face the longest city commutes.
  • For all of the cities, the average one-way length of the commute takes about 33 minutes,
  • At least 10% of people in every city we examined reported commutes that exceeded two hours.  In Moscow and Niarobi more than 35% of commuters have sat in traffic jams that exceeded three hours

But the road ahead is not full of all roadblocks and traffic delays.

The future is not about building new roads or widening existing ones to clear up congested roadways.  We can make the most of the roads we already have – by using technology to improve their performance and efficiency. Intelligent transportation systems can allow people to alter their routes or traveling times based on specific traffic flows, and promote better route guidance to use roads more efficiently.

Learn more about IBM’s 2011 Commuter Pain Index by reading Frustration Rising or join me on Twitter and #2011CommuterPain at 12 PM EDT on Monday for a chat about the paper and how to improve commuter pain.

Kalman Gyimesi is the Automotive and Industrial Practice Leader within the IBM Institute for Business Value.

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