Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Congestion is on the Rise (but Flying Cars will Save Us)

INRIX released its new Traffic Scorecard Annual Report and apparently congestion in the US is on the rise for the second straight year, but worldwide there is substantial variation in traffic levels:
Traffic as an Economic Indicator
With many economic indicators, such as household wealth and retail sales, trending toward the positive in 2013, INRIX’s comparison of congestion in 2012 versus 2013 year-to-date indicates how the overall economic climate affects national traffic congestion. Key global findings include:
Among all 15 countries analyzed worldwide, only three (Luxembourg, Ireland and the U.S.) have experienced increases in 2013. Only one country had increased traffic congestion in 2012 – Luxembourg. In Europe, the countries with the biggest declines in traffic have the highest rates of unemployment as they continue to struggle through the European debt crisis
In 2013, traffic congestion in the U.S. increased each month for the first three months of the year – the first such consecutive month increase in two years. This increase is in line with a steady increase in employment in the first three months of 2013 (+1.3%)i.
So far this year, 61 of America’s Top 100 Most Populated cities have experienced increased traffic congestion. This is a dramatic shift from 2012, where only six cities experienced increases and 94 saw decreases.
Seven of 2012’s Top 10 Worst Cities for Traffic in America have experienced increasing traffic congestion in 2013. The largest increase to date is in Boston (+30%), likely a result of the Boston metropolitan area boasting unemployment figures that were 1.2 percentage points lower than the national average in February 2013ii.
In Europe, traffic congestion fell 18 percent in 2012 and continues to spiral downward in 2013 with a further 23 percent decline in the first quarter. Eighty-one of the 94 European cities analysed have experienced decreases in traffic congestion in Q1 2013.
A piece of good news to accompany the worsening congestion is that Hyundai engineers have developed a flying car concept that can fly over all those poor people stuck in traffic:
Automaker Hyundai recently held what seems like the best office-wide contest ever, asking its R&D engineers to show off their ideas. And they certainly did, unveiling a multi-rotor flying electric concept car.



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