When a survey of traffic conditions on 5 continents, 38 countries and 1,064 cities was complete, INRIX concluded that Los Angeles has the most congested highways of any city on Earth. Drivers spent 104 hours in congestion last year in L.A. It was followed by Moscow, New York, San Francisco and Bogota. The U.S. accounted for 11 of the top 25 cities worldwide with the worst traffic congestion. NYC’s Cross Bronx Expressway, perhaps it needs a new name, was the worst corridor with the average driver wasting 86 hours per year. INRIX is a transportation analytics and connected car services firm.
For the first time, the INRIX Traffic Scorecard also includes the direct and indirect costs of congestion to all U.S. drivers, which amounted to nearly $300 billion in 2016, an average of $1,400 per driver. And in case you were wondering, Phoenix and Detroit tie for the lowest congestion.
A stable U.S. economy, continued urbanization of major cities, and factors such as employment growth and low gas prices all contributed to increased traffic in 2016.
Looking ahead, things may not improve. The demand for driving is expected to continue to rise, while the supply of roadway will remain flat, INRIX said.
Rounding out the top ten cities with the worst congestion in this country were Atlanta, Miami, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Boston, Chicago and Seattle.
We are not the only country in love with pickups. Automotive News Europe reports that pickup sales in the U.K rose 18 percent in 2016, to hit a record of nearly a half million. Sales of the Ford Ranger topped the charts.
We are now used to cars that understand what we say. Experts predict that in future they may also know how we feel – sometimes without us having to say a word.
Nearly 90 percent of all new cars are expected to offer voice recognition capability by 2022. The next step for the cars of tomorrow could be to pick up on tiny changes in our facial expression as well as modulations and inflections in our speaking voice, easing the driving experience for consumers.
Advanced systems – equipped with sophisticated microphones and in-car cameras – could learn which songs we like to hear when we are stressed and those occasions we prefer to simply enjoy silence. Interior lighting could also complement our mood.
“We’re well on the road to developing the empathetic car which might tell you a joke to cheer you up, offer advice when you need it, remind you of birthdays and keep you alert on a long drive,” said Fatima Vital, senior director, Marketing Automotive, Nuance Communications, which helped Ford develop voice recognition of the SYNC in-car connectivity system.
Good idea, bad idea? What do you think?