The Last Traffic Jam
The average travel time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and over 10 million people commute an hour or more each way. Then there are the “mega” commuters who travel 90 minutes and 50 miles each way. While some may enjoy spending their time and money following this daily ritual, research shows this daily back-and-forth can have serious negative impacts to your well-being.
Fortunately, there are some emergent technologies that can help reduce this burden. The first is an increase in connectivity, videoconferencing and the mobile workplace, powering an increase in telecommuting. By one estimate, telecommuting has risen 79 percent between 2005 and 2012. This not only has the benefit of taking cars off the road, saving fuel and emissions, but can increase worker productivity as well. According to the recent #SMARTer2030 report, telecommuters can save 100 hours annually and by 2030, technology can help save people 250 billion hours a year that might otherwise be spent staring at the back of another car.
Even if you have to be on the road, technology has the potential to help get you to your destination more efficiently and safer than ever before. Connectivity between cars, roads, lights and control systems allows for the gathering of real-time information on traffic conditions. Growth in that connectivity opens the door for more efficient driving, routing and parking, helping to lead to fewer accidents and, of course, a reduction in congestion and emissions. Smart logistics enable a much more efficient movement of goods, requiring fewer trucks on the road and relieving the congestion burden. #SMARTer2030 finds that these advancements in mobility solutions can save as much as 750 billion liters of fuel and around 42 billion hours by 2030.
Being a mobile worker myself, I appreciate that many days my “commute” is the walk from my kitchen to my home office, but I look forward to the day when traffic jams are a thing of the past.