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More convenience for motorists and virtual queueing were some of the topics of last week’s post. We shall stick with traffic today for starters:

As the time spent commuting increases with congested roads during rush-hours, costing Chicagoan and Washingtonian car commuters 70 hours of their lives every year, and $1,166 on average to each metro area commuter, schemas to reduce congestion are in high demand.

Where an expansion of metropolitan public transit systems appears to not be a short term option (the extensive public transport system in runaway leader New York saved commuters almost $9 billion and over 350 million potential lost hours), mobile technology can help alleviate the burden in three ways:

Inform, divert, and charge    

With timely, accurate information on their mobile devices, such as navigation applications, commuters can assess alternative times and routes to their destination. Government agencies can help by making available respective information, e.g. as twitter feeds or in a similar open data format, for the private sector to pick up and transform into service offers.   

Congestion charges may help to reinforce economic incentives for commuters to chose a different time, route, or means of transportation for their commute, and long term, for some of them, to move closer to their work place. Mobile technology may be used as an efficient way to charge rush-hour commuters by taking advantage of existing infrastructure, i.e. mobile phone networks. Additional road-side infrastructure investments may be kept to a minimum.

Telecommuting,

also known as work from home, allows commuters to wait for rush hour to pass and get on the road later, or to work from home for the day. Mobile technology keeps workers securely connected to their organization. Governments can take advantage of the respective technology for their own employees. In 2010, the US Federal government reports “33 agencies reported cost savings/benefits as a result of telework; of these, the greatest benefit was in the area of productivity (39%), then human capital, such as recruitment and retention (37%), and realized savings in leave (34%)”. Interestingly, according to the report, 37% of participating agencies asked their employees to purchase their own equipment. This means, though, sound strategies and methods need to be in place at those agencies to secure remote access in a safe way, such as mobile device management, including BYOD (bring your own device). Didn’t we just talk about that a few weeks ago?

For today, I gotta keep it brief and go telecommute (when I commute for real, I do it by bike, motor- or human-powered. That ain’t no fun in the rain… Yes, it rains in the SF bay area). See y’all in two weeks for our last post of this blog series. Stay dry and productive 😉

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