If you love your car, move to Los Angeles

TomTom has released the results of the world�s most accurate congestion index for urban areas. Will accuracy lead to working solutions, or should we spend our time thinking of better ways to get around?
Written by Sonya James, Contributor

If you love sitting in your car, merging onto the highway at 10 miles an hour, and maybe an hour later, if you're lucky, pulling into your driveway, then move to Los Angeles.

Another way to look at it is this: if you hate your life, and see traffic congestion as a way to escape it, then move to Los Angeles.

Otherwise, move to Detroit. And let's all take a moment to ponder the irony of the Motor City having the lowest rates of traffic congestion in North America.

The results of the TomTom Congestion Index are not exactly surprising. But the Index itself is significant.

According to Business Wire, the TomTom Congestion Index is the world's most accurate barometer of congestion in urban areas.

The TomTom website states, "With the publication of the TomTom Congestion Index we are aiming to provide the general public, industry and policy makers with unique and unbiased information about congestion levels in urban areas."

"When we combine this travel database with our detailed real-time traffic information and routing technology, we can not only pinpoint congestion, but can guide drivers away from congested areas onto faster routes," Harold Goddijn, Chief Executive Officer of TomTom said.

"Even when only a percentage of drivers use a different and faster route, the available capacity on the entire road network increases, which benefits all drivers," Goddijn added.

Balaji Prabhakar, a professor of computer science at Stanford University who pays drivers not to use crowded areas in peak times as part of his research on traffic congestion, calls highway congestion an example of "nonlinear" behavior. Even a small reduction in vehicles (10% or less) was noted to have significant effects on traffic flow.

According to a report from the Ericsson's Consumer Lab, traffic and parking madness is the number one cause of stress in daily urban life.

Wondering how your city fared? See the full North American results summary below:

Check out the 2012 European and North American Indexes, as well as individual city reports, here.

[Via: Business Wire]

Images: TomTom; Business Wire

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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