Hate your commute? Well, workers from Mexico City to Beijing have no pity for you. According to an IBM commuter pain study of 8,192 motorists in 20 cities, 67% complained that traffic has gotten worse in the past three years. The respondents also stated that their long and tiring commute has a negative effect on their job leaving them feeling sick, angry, and unproductive.
Researchers found that increased traffic congestion causes greater economic problems for cities. Workers who are stuck in traffic will most likely go back home or move out. Not only does this effect the area of residence which experiences a population decline, but the surrounding areas must expand to accommodate for the influx of newcomers. City planners are then stuck in a gridlock, pardon the pun.
Stressed commuters are most likely to relocate closer to their jobs. According to IBM, this will mean more people moving to the cities which will either have to build more on available space or spread out into the suburbs. This is happening across the United States according to the study; cities like Phoenix are having to spread its urban area to keep up with population growth. Even New York City is becoming so overcrowded that sister cities are sprouting from White Plains, New Rochelle and Jersey City. The more urban centers spread out, businesses will be able to move closer to their employees. This will then help boost the local economy of once stressful commuters.
The IBM study also found that traffic congestion is higher outside the US as emerging economies expand. Places like China are experiencing a boom in construction to house the bustling productivity that contributes to their economic growth. This causes more Chinese to demand vehicles to commute to work. The amount of new cars registered in Beijing in the first four months of 2010 rose 23.8 percent to 284,000. Also, Beijing had the highest number of respondents who said that the traffic conditions have improved int he past three years. This is largely due to the improving cities investment in infrastructure paving the way for new roads or high-speed trains.
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