Among the many issues facing cities worldwide today, traffic and commuting are regularly the most problematic and intractable. At the city level, traffic congestion and commuting inefficiencies place a strain on urban infrastructure, increase pollution and environmental degradation and lead to loss of resources, time and productivity. On a personal level, commuting has been identified as one of the most unpleasant urban experiences, often associated with very high levels of stress. In a new report The New Cities Foundation together with Ericsson evaluates these issues from a ICT perspective.

With today’s enabling ICT environment and the ubiquitous use of smart phones and social networking tools, information can be transferred among individuals more seamlessly than ever before. Commuters today have the ability to transmit real-time, localized and pertinent information to each other, so how can and should this information be used to encourage and enable a shorter, more efficient, and generally happier commute.

The New Cities Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating more sustainable, dynamic and global cities through creative partnerships, and Ericsson, a founding member of the Foundation, created a Task Force on Connected Commuting to evaluate these issues in a pilot project in San Jose, California. This project was conducted in collaboration with the San Jose Department of Transportation, the University of California Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and two commuter-focused mobile applications, Waze and Roadify.

The report from the Task force reveals several key insights, including:

  1. Connecting commuters improves the commute by allowing users to share or receive real-time information on traffic issues.
  2. The use of commuter sentiment analysis tools has the potential to help cities and local transportation authorities define their priorities, planning and investments in the area of transportation.
  3. Technology plays a significant role for both connected and un-connected commuters, whether during the planning stage or the actual commute. The types of planning and commuting tools varied significantly between commuters.
  4. Connected car commuters tended to be happier than unconnected car commuters as a result of being able to predict their commute conditions which resulted in less stress.
  5. Public transport commuters, on the other hand, tend to use technology more during the trip-planning phase rather than during the commute itself.

Read the full report here

Download the slide pack