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New Zealand Commuter Pain Survey

Traffic congestion: How does New Zealand measure up?

As populations expand and national incomes increase, the number of cars on the road is steadily rising. Car ownership is no longer seen as a luxury, but a right and a necessity. Unfortunately, the rising number of cars results in a growing number of problems, including traffic congestion, pollution, higher fuel prices and increased driver stress.

For New Zealand, complaining about traffic congestion is a national pastime. But is the situation really as bad as we think, especially compared to other countries? And what solutions can help manage traffic congestion?

The New Zealand Commuter Pain Study was conducted in October 2010. IBM interviewed more than 900 drivers from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington about metropolitan commuting patterns and the effects of traffic on their health and lifestyle.

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IBM Commuter Pain Survey

Traffic congestion

In Moscow, drivers reported an average delay of two-and-a-half hours when asked to report the length of the worst traffic jam they experienced in the past three years. But they’re not alone.

Cities everywhere are battling an increase in demand and an inability to build sufficient infrastructure to cope. For example, in the U.S., as population grew nearly 20% between 1982 and 2001, traffic jumped 236%.

The recent IBM Commuter Pain Study paints a grim picture of metropolitan-area commuters in many cities struggling to get to and from work each day, often with negative consequences. For example, 57 percent of all respondents say that roadway traffic has negatively affect their health, but that percentage soars to 96 percent in New Delhi and 95 percent in Beijing.


 

IBM Commuter Pain Index

IBM compiled the results of the survey into an Index that ranks the emotional and economic toll of commuting in each city on a scale of one to 100―with 100 being the most onerous. The Index reveals a tremendous disparity in the pain of the daily commute from city to city. For example, the commute in Beijing is four times more painful than the commute in Los Angeles or New York, and seven times more painful than the commute in Stockholm, according to the Index.

Here’s how the cities stack up:

The survey was conducted to better understand consumer thinking toward traffic congestion as the issue reaches crisis proportions nationwide and higher levels of auto emissions stir environmental concerns. These events are impacting communities around the world, where governments, citizens and private sector organisations are looking beyond traditional remedies like additional roads and greater access to public transportation to reverse the negative impacts of increased road congestion.

 

Drivers rated traffic in world cities from 1 to 100, with 100 being the most onorous

 

Traffic systems are part of a larger system

Rethinking how we get from point A to point B means applying new technology and new policies to old assumptions and habits. It means improving the drivers' experience, not just where and when they drive. And it could lead to advances in the cars we drive, the roads we drive them on, and the public transit we might take instead. For example:

Smarter traffic management systems reduce traffic congestion

A smart traffic system helped the city of Stockholm cut gridlock by 20%, reduce emissions by 12% and increase public transportation use dramatically.

Cities around the world are building smarter transportaion systems, reducing traffic congestion in the process.

Many cities around the world face common transport challenges. Download this report from the IBM Institute for Business Value on how cities can learn from one another's success in integrating their transportation services.

Traffic congestion was a topic of a recent IBM Global Innovation Outlook conference.

Traffic was one subject at IBM's Global Innovation Outlook conference where some of the world's brightest minds were asked: how do we improve our cars, our roads, our public transit and how we ship our goods?


 
Smarter transportation means better systems for rail, air, public transit and freight. These can improve our cities, our economy and our daily lives.

The city of the future may have fleets of smaller buses that change routes on the fly to go where they are needed most, while larger buses travel high demand routes in peak periods. All will be integrated with a system that dynamically tracks and adjusts their movements, to meet changing user needs.