Sunday, April 14, 2013

Be more like Europe?

Big Data certainly changes our lives; it is a triviality that "we ain't seen nothin' yet." Auto use around the world grows every year. As it does, so does the use of the various "apps" that track and record traffic conditions.  The likes of Tomtom are on the rise with data gathered from 80 million probes in 31 countries. Those of us who are trying to learn about cities around the world get a new data source. Tomtom's recent report includes road congestion information for 133 major cities on four continents.

For each city, we get the percent of traffic flowing at less than free-flow speeds, reported five ways (overall, AM peak, PM peak, highways and non-highways).  Here are the five proportions for the average of the 59 European cities: 24, 48, 50, 17, 31.  Here are the five comparables for the 59 North American cities (53 U.S. and 6 Canadian): 18, 30, 45, 11, 27.  Traffic conditions are better in the auto-oriented cities.  That's where there are fewer congestion externalities.