Archive for the ‘telecommuting’ Category
So I watched the Chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, last night as she made the rounds on the news channels about the NTSB Safety Board’s recommendation for a nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle.
Though I know there will be lots of business interests, not to mention political ones, against such a ban, I thought the Chairman made a compelling argument, and as I delved into some of the details and case studies that informed the board’s recommendations, it became even more difficult to argue with.
Mostly. But more on that later.
Mind you, this is my take on the situation, and I’m sure there are lots of other points of view that I hope this announcement instigates some discussion around, and of course, I only speak for myself here.
But first, let’s survey some of the facts and incidents the board cited in the press release it issued around its decision:
- On August 5, 2010, on a section of Interstate 44 in Gray Summit, Missouri, a pickup truck ran into the back of a truck-tractor that had slowed due to an active construction zone. The pickup truck, in turn, was struck from behind by a school bus. That school bus was then hit by a second school bus that had been following. As a result, two people died and 38 others were injured.
- The NTSB’s investigation revealed that the pickup driver sent and received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes preceding the accident. The last text was received moments before the pickup struck the truck-tractor.
- The Missouri accident is the most recent distraction accident the NTSB has investigated. However, the first investigation involving distraction from a wireless electronic device occurred in 2002, when a novice driver, distracted by a conversation on her cell phone, veered off the roadway in Largo, Maryland, crossed the median, flipped the car over, and killed five people.
These were just a couple of the initially cited incidents. The Board came loaded for bear with a variety of others:
- In 2004, an experienced motorcoach driver, distracted on his hands-free cell phone, failed to move to the center lane and struck the underside of an arched stone bridge on the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria, Virginia. Eleven of the 27 high school students were injured
- In the 2008 collision of a commuter train with a freight train in Chatsworth, California, the commuter train engineer, who had a history of using his cell phone for personal communications while on duty, ran a red signal while texting. That train collided head on with a freight train – killing 25 and injuring dozens.
- In 2009, two airline pilots were out of radio communication with air traffic control for more than an hour because they were distracted by their personal laptops. They overflew their destination by more than 100 miles, only realizing their error when a flight attendant inquired about preparing for arrival.
- In Philadelphia in 2010, a barge being towed by a tugboat ran over an amphibious “duck” boat in the Delaware River, killing two Hungarian tourists. The tugboat mate failed to maintain a proper lookout due to repeated use of a cell-phone and laptop computer;
- In 2010, near Munfordville, Kentucky, a truck-tractor in combination with a 53-foot-long trailer, left its lane, crossed the median and collided with a 15-passenger van. The truck driver failed to maintain control of his vehicle because he was distracted by use of his cell-phone. The accident resulted in 11 fatalities
So what about the recommendation? It specifically calls for the 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task, like GPS devices) for all drivers.
The safety recommendation also urges use of the NHTSA model of high-visibility enforcement to support these bans and implementation of targeted communications campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and heightened enforcement.
‘According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents”, said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving.”
“No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life.”
Controversial? No doubt. Sensible? Largely.
Once upon a time, I used to find myself on occasion texting and driving, particularly on the freeway, until a couple of times I nearly rear-ended someone. Then, I very quickly came to my own empirical conclusion that driving while texting was not conducive to “smarter driving” and went back to enjoying my car stereo.
As far as the complete and entire ban on voice discussions in the car, particularly considering the introduction of technologies like OnStar and Lynx — which make voice communications much more seamless and integrated into the overall driving experience (volume control on the steering wheel, voice activation and dialing, etc.) — I’m curious if maybe there could be some more research to help fully understand the safety and economic impact of such a robust ban.
But in any case, I do think the NTSB Safety Board is heading in the right direction, so to speak, and to put the exclamation point on the report, the report cited a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study of commercial drivers which found that a safety-critical event is 163 times more likely if a driver is texting, emailing, or accessing the Internet.
163 times! You can go here to see more about the NTSB report and recommendation.
So, not to be scientific or anything, I’m looking to elicit input from the crowd in the following poll on what your thoughts are regarding the NTSB announcement. Vote early and often!
The IBM Commuter Study for 2011 is now available.
In last year’s results, I mentioned that I’ve been an IBM home office worker for the better part of the last eight years.
I’m not sure how much gas I’ve saved. And I’m not sure how many more hours IBM has gotten out of me, never mind the fact that I pay the utilities here at the home office.
But whatever the price, it’s saved me the hassle of getting out into the Austin traffic.
And once you hear some of the results from this year’s study, you may be wanting to climb your way out of your own commute:
Of the 8,042 commuters in 20 cities across six contintents, here’s the headlines:
- Drivers report more stress and frustration related to commuting worldwide
- Forty one percent of commuters globally said improved public transportation would help reduce stress
- Perception of traffic in emerging economies vs. more developed economies is improving
In a cross-section of some of the most economically important international cities there appears a startling dichotomy: while the commute has become a lot more bearable over the past year, drivers complaints are going through the roof.
The annual global Commuter Pain Survey revealed that in a number of cities more people are taking public transportation rather than driving, when compared with last year’s survey.
In many cities, there were big jumps in the percentage of respondents who said that roadway traffic has improved either “somewhat” or “substantially” in the past three years.
IBM Commuter Pain Index
But that’s only part of the story. In many cities, the survey recorded significant increases, when compared with last year, in the number of respondents who said that roadway traffic has increased their levels of personal stress and anger and negatively affected their performance at work or school.
“Commuting doesn’t occur in a vacuum,” said Naveen Lamba, IBM’s global intelligent transportation expert. “A person’s emotional response to the daily commute is colored by many factors pertaining both to traffic congestion as well as to other, unrelated, issues. This year’s Global Commuter Pain survey indicates that drivers in cities around the world are much more unsettled and anxious compared with 2010.”
Infrastructure Investments in Emerging Markets
The survey results suggest that aggressive infrastructure investment in some of the most rapidly growing economies seems to be paying off. Compared with other cities surveyed, more commuters in Bangalore, New Delhi, Beijing and Shenzhen reported improvement in traffic conditions over the last three years.
For example, last year Beijing was expected to invest approximately 80 billion yuan to improve its transportation infrastructure, and Mexico City is making a significant investment of $2.5 billion US over the next few years to better support the growing demands of its transportation network in one of the most populated urban areas in the world.
With more than one billion cars on the road worldwide, cities are continuing to address traffic congestion and looking for new ways to handle the growing demand.
Even though commuters in many emerging market cities report that traffic is down, there is much room for improvement. The respondents in many of these same cities also report, with a greater frequency than the global average, that traffic negatively impacts their stress levels, physical health and productivity.
For example, 86 percent of the respondents in Beijing, 87 percent in Shenzhen, 70 percent in New Delhi and 61 percent in Nairobi report traffic as a key inhibitor to work or school performance. Sixty seven percent of drivers in Mexico City, 63 percent in Shenzhen and New Delhi and 61 percent in Beijing said they had decided not to make a driving trip in the last month due to anticipated traffic — the most of all cities surveyed.
Commuting pain is also reflected globally as 69 percent of those surveyed indicated that traffic has negatively affected their health in some way. Some 42 percent of respondents globally reported increased stress and 35 percent reported increased anger. Respiratory problems due to traffic congestion were most prevalent in China and India.
A Move To Public Transportation
The survey results reflect an increased willingness to use public transportation and technology to improve the commute. Overall, 41 percent believe improved public transit would help reduce traffic congestion. Consider that even though globally only 35 percent of people changed the way that they get to work or school in the last year, 45 percent of those who have are opting for public transit.
An astonishing 70 percent of Nairobi residents report taking public transit more often in the last year on their daily commute. The biggest movement to public transit is in emerging cities including Nairobi, Mexico City, Shenzhen, Buenos Aires and Beijing. If this continues, it could help mitigate increasing traffic due to population growth and urbanization. Interestingly, the desire for more accurate and timely information about road conditions as a way to reduce stress was shared across a number of cities from Los Angeles and Chicago to Moscow and Bangalore.
IBM Commuter Pain Survey
IBM compiled the results of the survey into its Commuter Pain Index that ranks the emotional and economic toll of commuting in each city, with the highest number being the most onerous. The Index reveals a tremendous disparity in the pain of the daily commute from city to city. Montreal had the least painful commute of the cities studied, followed by London and Chicago. Here’s how the cities stack up:
The index is comprised of 10 issues:
- commuting time
- time stuck in traffic, agreement that:
- price of gas is already too high
- traffic has gotten worse
- start-stop traffic is a problem
- driving causes stress
- driving causes anger
- traffic affects work
- traffic so bad driving stopped
- decided not to make trip due to traffic.
The cities scored as follows: Mexico City: 108; Shenzhen 95; Beijing 95; Nairobi 88; Johannesburg 83; Bangalore 75; New Delhi 72; Moscow 65; Milan 53; Singapore 44; Buenos Aires 42; Los Angeles 34; Paris 31; Madrid 28; New York City 28; Toronto 27; Stockholm 26; Chicago 25; London 23; and Montreal 21.
“We can’t simply build our way out of congestion no matter which city,” said Vinodh Swaminathan, director of intelligent transportation systems, IBM. In order to improve traffic flow and congestion, cities need to move beyond knowing and reacting; they have to find ways to anticipate and avoid situations that cause congestion that could turn the world into one giant parking lot.”
Survey Snapshot: Notable Movers & Interesting Trends
- Fourteen of the 15 cities surveyed in both 2010 and 2011 reported year-over-year increases in respondents who said that traffic had improved either “somewhat” or “substantially” over the past three years, with many of the cities posting substantial increases. For example, New York (24% in 2011 vs. 12% in 2010), Toronto (23% in 2011 vs. 8% in 2010), Milan (27% in 2011 vs. 7% in 2010), Stockholm (42% in 2011 vs. 18% in 2010), Moscow (31% in 2011 vs. 16%), and Johannesburg (29% in 2011 vs. 13% in 2010).
- Despite improving traffic conditions, 12 of the 15 cities surveyed in both 2010 and 2011 reported year-over-year increases in respondents who said that roadway traffic has increased their stress levels, with sveral cities posting substantial increases. For example, New York (45% in 2011 vs. 13% in 2010), Los Angeles (44% in 2011 vs. 21% in 2010), Toronto (40% in 2011 vs. 14% in 2010), London (33% in 2011 vs. 19% in 2010), Milan (61% in 2011 vs. 38% in 2010), and Johannesburg (52% in 2011 vs. 30% in 2010).
- Eleven of the 15 cities surveyed in both 2010 and 2011 reporter year-over-year increases in respondents who said that roadway traffic has made them angry, with several cities posting substantial increases. For example, New York (35% in 2011 vs. 14% in 2010), Los Angeles, (29% in 2011 vs. 14% in 2010), and Toronto (29% in 2011 vs. 14% in 2010).
- Eleven of the 15 cities surveyed in both 2010 and 2011 reported year-over-year increases in respondents who said that traffic has negatively affected their performance at work or school, with several cities posting substantial increases. For example, New York (28% in 2011 vs. 8% in 2010), Toronto (29% in 2011 vs. 17% in 2010), Madrid (30% in 2011 vs. 21% in 2010), Paris (35% in 2011 vs. 26% in 2010), Milan (40% in 2011 vs. 21% in 2010), Stockholm (25% in 2011 vs. 14% in 2010), and Moscow (34% in 2011 vs. 25% in 2010).
- When asked about the longest amount of time they have been stuck in traffic over the past three years, the mean time reported by drivers in Mexico City, Moscow, Beijing, Shenzhen and Nairobi were notable, with delays of about two hours. In Moscow, approximately three in ten drivers (29 percent) say they been stuck for over three hours. By comparison, about half of the drivers surveyed in Stockholm, Singapore, Madrid and Buenos Aires reported spending less than 30 minutes or literally no time stuck in traffic.
- The percentage of New York metro area drivers who are driving to work or school alone decreased to 59 percent in 2011 vs. 90 percent last year.
- If traffic didn’t take up so much time, commuters would rather devote it to personal relationships and improving their physical health. More than half of respondents (56 percent) would spend time won back with family/friends; while nearly half (48 percent) would exercise and 40 percent would spend more time on recreation. Nearly three in ten drivers (29 percent) would sleep more.
- Commuters in Nairobi seem to take traffic in stride despite the fact that they average among the longest commutes. Nearly half (48 percent) report that roadway traffic has not impacted their health.
- On average, drivers in Nairobi, Mexico City, Johannesburg, Beijing, Bangalore, and Moscow spend the longest amount of time (36 minutes or more) on the road to get to their workplace or school.
About the IBM Commuter Pain Survey
The Commuter Pain Survey is conducted by IBM to better understand consumer attitudes around traffic congestion as the issue reaches crisis proportions around the world and higher levels of auto emissions stir environmental concerns. These events are impacting communities around the world, where governments, citizens and private sector organizations are looking beyond traditional remedies like additional roads and greater access to public transportation to reverse the negative impacts of increased road congestion.
This is IBM’s fourth annual Commuter Pain survey. IBM began conducting the survey in the United States in 2008 and expanded it to 20 global cities in 2010. Findings from the Commuter Pain survey will be used to assess citizen concerns about traffic and commuter issues; enhance smarter transportation solutions such as traffic prediction intelligent tolling systems, road user charging, advanced traffic management and integrated fare management and serve as a basis for pioneering new approaches to improving transportation.
IBM is working with cities, governments and others around the world to make their transportation systems smarter. Smarter transportation systems can help traffic and public transit systems flow more smoothly, anticipate and improve congestion in advance, reduce emissions and increase the capacity of infrastructure.
Read the IBM report on the 2011 Commuter Pain Survey here.
Join us for a Twitter chat #2011CommuterPain with @kalgyimesi, automotive leader for IBM Institute for Business Value and one of the study authors, on September 12 at 12 PM ET.
To join in the conversation on Smarter Transportation, join us on LinkedIn and Twitter and follow #2011CommuterPain.
Visit here for more on IBM and Smarter Traffic.
Merger Monday has evolved into Transaction Thursday.
As the Chinese Communist Party celebrates its 60th birthday today in Beijing (only invited guests could physically attend the celebration…all the other Beijingers had to watch the Party on TV), Cisco bought Norwegian video conferencing provider, Tandberg, for around $3B U.S.
If you’ve never seen a Cisco TelePresence suite, it really is the next best thing to being there.
Tandberg provides similar capabilities, with The New York Times pointing out that that it sells smaller-sized, cheaper conferencing units, suggesting that Cisco is readying itself to take video conferencing downmarket to conference rooms everywhere.
Tandberg’s range of video conferencing gear includes those systems that can sit on desks or be used with personal computers.
Does this mean I will soon no longer be able to work in my pajamas?
Quite possibly. Maybe I can find a PJ top that looks like a tuxedo.
Which I can then wear via videoconference in New York City, where, today and tomorrow, IBM, in partnership with NYC and The City University, as well as other organizations from the public, private, and voluntary sectors, will be convening to explore how cities in the Americas can become smarter.
Hosted by IBM Chairman and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano, the SmarterCities NYC forum will continue the conversation started in Berlin in June to explore new approaches to regional partnership as well as evaluate frameworks for investment and review the tools that are helping our cities meet 21st century realities.
You can learn more about the event here.
Continuing with the video conferencing meme, just yesterday, IBM announced new services that will help companies around the world improve their own global communications, reduce their carbon footprints, and save costs on travel expenses.
For the first time, IBM is delivering a managed service to make it easy to implement and operate a video communications solution enabling smarter collaboration between employees, customer and partners around the world.
The new IBM Converged Communications Services – Managed Telepresence service includes design, implementation, concierge and help desk, integration with client calendaring application, remote operations, and maintenance and support.
IBM will provide telecommunications for this service by leveraging its partnerships with telecommunications providers worldwide, and technology for this service using Cisco’s TelePresence technology.
IBM Global Financing will also offer flexible billing and payment options for this solution. Learn more about the new Managed Telepresence service here.
So, don’t be surprised when you see me wearing a tuxedo in our next video conference…and try not to laugh too hard when you think about the rest of my remote wardrobe (I’m sensing a major new clothing line opportunity here).