IBM on its ‘commuter pain’ survey, and a promo video about its activities in smarter transport

IBM press release here. The survey is interesting – but so is this thought: Is car commuter pain a reliable and useful metric in making transport more sustainable? Some cities in Europe have clearly set out to make car commuting more miserable, rather than less, to encourage modal shift to public transport. Presumably some of these will have a higher ‘commuter pain’ score than other more car-friendly cities – but are they more sustainable?

Also, I am not yet convinced that personalised travel advice for drivers actually scales up to a more sustainable or less congested system overall. It’s possible that it does, and that better information improves the experience of every driver by increasing the utilisation of routes that would otherwise be under-used; but it’s equally possible that the optimisation would just collapse as drivers began to act on it. I’d be very keen to see if anyone has at least modelled this, or even better studied the real-life phenomenon.

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