In its annual global Consumer Pain Survey, IBM shows that commuters worldwide are seeing increased stress levels.
new IBM survey relating to traffic in some of the largest cities in the world
indicates that although efforts have been made to alleviate traffic congestion,
commuter complaints have increased.
its annual global Commuter Pain Survey, released Sept. 8, IBM shows that in a
number of cities more people are taking public transportation rather than
driving, when compared with last year's survey. In many cities, there were big
jumps in the percentage of respondents who said that roadway traffic has
improved either "somewhat" or "substantially" in the past
three years, IBM said.
in many cities, the survey recorded significant increases in the number of
respondents who said that roadway traffic has increased their levels of
personal stress and anger and negatively affected their performance at work or
doesn't occur in a vacuum," said Naveen Lamba, IBM's global intelligent
transportation expert, in a statement. "A person's emotional response to
the daily commute is colored by many factors-pertaining both to traffic
congestion as well as to other, unrelated, issues. This year's Global Commuter
Pain survey indicates that drivers in cities around the world are much more
unsettled and anxious compared with 2010."
officials said the survey results suggest that aggressive infrastructure
investment in some of the most rapidly growing economies seems to be paying
off. Compared with other cities surveyed, more commuters in Bangalore, New
Delhi, Beijing and Shenzhen reported improvement in traffic conditions over the
last three years. For example, last year Beijing was expected to invest
approximately 80 billion yuan to improve its transportation infrastructure, and
Mexico City is making a significant investment of $2.5 billion over the next
few years to better support the growing demands of its transportation network
in one of the most populated urban areas in the world. With more than 1 billion
cars on the road worldwide, cities are continuing to address traffic congestion
and looking for new ways to handle the growing demand, IBM said.
even though commuters in many emerging market cities report that traffic is
down, there is much room for improvement. The respondents in many of these same
cities also report, with a greater frequency than the global average, that
traffic negatively impacts their stress levels, physical health and
productivity, according to the survey.
example, 86 percent of the respondents in Beijing, 87 percent in Shenzhen, 70
percent in New Delhi and 61 percent in Nairobi report traffic as a key
inhibitor to work or school performance, IBM officials said. Sixty-seven
percent of drivers in Mexico City, 63 percent in Shenzhen and New Delhi, and 61
percent in Beijing said they had decided not to make a driving trip in the last
month due to anticipated traffic-the most of all cities surveyed, IBM said.
pain is also reflected globally as 69 percent of those surveyed indicated that
traffic has negatively affected their health in some way. Some 42 percent of
respondents globally reported increased stress and 35 percent reported
increased anger. Respiratory problems due to traffic congestion were most
prevalent in China and India.
addition, the IBM survey results reflect an increased willingness to use public
transportation and technology to improve the commute. Overall, 41 percent
believe improved public transit would help reduce traffic congestion, IBM said.
Consider that even though globally only 35 percent of people changed the way
that they get to work or school in the last year, 45 percent of those who have
are opting for public transit. A whopping 70 percent of Nairobi residents
report taking public transit more often in the last year on their daily
biggest movement to public transit is in emerging cities including Nairobi,
Mexico City, Shenzhen, Buenos Aires and Beijing, IBM said. If this continues,
it could help mitigate increasing traffic due to population growth and
the desire for more accurate and timely information about road conditions as a
way to reduce stress was shared across a number of cities from Los Angeles and
Chicago to Moscow and Bangalore, IBM said.
compiled the results of the survey into its Commuter Pain Index, which ranks
the emotional and economic toll of commuting in each city, with the highest
number being the most onerous. The index reveals a broad disparity in the pain
of the daily commute from city to city. Montreal had the least painful commute
of the cities studied, followed by London and Chicago.
can't simply build our way out of congestion no matter which city," said
Vinodh Swaminathan, director of intelligent transportation systems at IBM, in a
statement. "In order to improve traffic flow and congestion, cities need
to move beyond knowing and reacting; they have to find ways to anticipate and
avoid situations that cause congestion that could turn the world into one giant
conducts its Commuter Pain Survey to better understand consumer attitudes
around traffic congestion as the issue reaches crisis proportions around the
world and higher levels of auto emissions stir environmental concerns. These
events are impacting communities around the world, where governments, citizens
and private sector organizations are looking beyond traditional remedies like
additional roads and greater access to public transportation to reverse the
negative impacts of increased road congestion.
This is IBM's fourth annual Commuter Pain survey. IBM
surveyed 8,042 commuters in 20 cities on six continents.
IBM is working with cities, governments and others around the world to make
their transportation systems smarter. Smarter transportation
can help traffic and public transit systems flow more smoothly,
anticipate and improve congestion in advance, reduce emissions, and increase
the capacity of infrastructure. IBM has invested in research to advance smarter
transportation systems as part of its Smarter Planet