Smarter technology needed to alleviate Australian traffic pain: IBM

Report shows IT strategies may help rising commuter stress

Australians are ready to embrace technology that leads to better public transport and system information, recent findings from IBM’s Australian commuter pain study has found.

The study was conducted by Galaxy Research for the vendor in October, surveying some 1556 participants in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

It found that up to 81 per cent of drivers experienced travel stress, but that this could be reduced by the greater use of traffic management technology like free flow tolling systems to replace cash tolling booths.

It also suggested strategies on how to cut down on traffic jams, including the option of working from home.

Around 47 per cent of those surveyed said that improved public transportation would help alleviate some of the stress associated with their commute to work.

Other findings from the report state that 35 per cent of respondents would like greater flexibility to work from home and 31 per cent would like to receive timely information on road conditions.

The study looked at differences in metropolitan commuting patterns and the effects roadway traffic, work, university and school performance have on the health of a person and their lifestyle.

The survey found that the majority of Australians use their car as their main mode of transportation when attending university or school, with some 63 per cent of respondents saying this was the case.

Some 41 one per cent of drivers surveyed stated that traffic has negatively affected their health, and 39 per cent said it negatively affected their performance at work or school.

According to the report, Sydney commuters were worse off with 50 per cent of drivers experiencing negative health effects, whilst the least affected were in Adelaide where only 28 per cent were affected.

IBM Australia smarter transport industry expert, John Hawkins, said in a statement that the findings reflect the stress that transport infrastructure is facing.

"Building more roads is not enough to solve these issues,” he said. “Introducing smarter technology that can provide real-time information to transportation officials and commuters will help reduce commuter stress and ease traffic congestion.”

The survey follows IBM’s work with the Queensland Government which in September last year implemented a $2 billion advanced free flowing road toll system which utilised IBM video tag systems and has the ability to read vehicle numberplates.

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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