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Blog updated Sept. 2, 2016
Terrible Traffic Tuesday. September Surge. Call it what you like, but metro drivers dread the end of summer as traffic rebounds with a vengeance after Labor Day. Can technology tame your traffic troubles?
Are cities effectively using tech to conquer traffic?
You might be forgiven for thinking cities and states are already optimizing your traffic experience with technology. While a few use advanced data collection, adapative traffic lights and other innovative (but hardly sci-fi) technologies, most cities are far behind. As of 2014, only about 3 percent of traffic lights used adaptive technology to optimize traffic flow, according to Governing.com.
Thankfully, there are some signs of progress. The U.S. Department of Transportation used a $40 million Smart City Challenge to incentivize cities to upgrade their traffic technology. Columbus, Ohio, beat techie cities like San Francisco and Austin with its proposal to create autonomous vehicle corridors and equip buses, taxis and cars with vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
The DOT is also partnering with Google parent company Alphabet to feed their data and analytics capabilities to cities to assist in traffic planning and management.
Traffic apps: Waze vs. Google
Every driver who braves congested roads should check a map app before every commute. But which one should you use?
Want to know more? Read Lifehacker's thorough comparison of Waze and Google.
For public transit commuters, Moovit offers some much-needed help. The social app uses a combination of public data, user-entered intel and predictive analytics to help riders navigate public transit systems. It offers delay alerts, schedules and route-planning help.
Skip the traffic altogether
Finally, there is a foolproof way to avoid traffic: Work from home. Need help convincing your boss? Send her these articles:
To Raise Productivity, Let More Employees Work from Home: The Harvard Business Review interviewed Stanford Professor Nicholas Bloom about his groundbreaking study of call center workers that shows a huge improvement in worker productivity, morale and retention. But does it apply to higher-skilled workers? Bloom thinks it does.
Does Working From Home Work? Evidence From A Chinese Experiment. You can read the full study of how sending a control group of workers home for nine months produced surprisingly strong results showing workers are much more productive at home.
And finally, PC World offers some great advice for managing telework employees.
Have a great Labor Day, everyone! And if your post-Labor-Day commute is too much to bear, why not try finding a new IT job closer to home?