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Social Innovation

From stressful to smart

We take a look at three ways in which smart technology will make stressful commutes a thing of the past.

Cities are busy, exciting and stressful environments.

As the urban population continues to grow, our cities will only get busier, putting immense pressure on transport links, healthcare and housing.

But technology can help. This piece will look at three ways tech will help alleviate some of the frustrations of the daily commute and make that journey to work as breezy as possible.


Stressful: No one likes to spend that extra time they could have been sleeping in a traffic jam. According to recent estimates, the average driver will spend 32 hours a year stuck in traffic. This is not only lost time, but lost productivity.

Smart: Currently traffic lights run in sequence or have to be controlled manually. But by fitting them with artificial intelligence, they will be able to autonomously detect heavy road use and consequently alter the patterns of the traffic lights to ease congestion. Those 32 hours a year can now be put to better use!


Stressful: You’re already running late for work, you’ve wasted time in a traffic jam and now you can’t find a parking space. In fact, it is likely you will spend almost four days a year looking for a parking space, according to a new survey.

Smart: Using the Internet of Things, live sensors can feedback data on the availability and location of available parking spaces. So instead of trawling through a number of streets, you will be able to see exactly where a space is free via an app and drive straight there (just remember you can’t check the app whilst you’re driving!)


Stressful: So you’ve got through the frustration of the traffic jam, finally parked your car at the station having spent 20 minutes finding that last free spot and now you’re on a train which is totally overcrowded. Not only are there not any seats left, but there is barely any space to stand, let alone pass the time by with the paper or a book. And on top of that, passenger numbers are set to double again in the next twenty years.

Smart: Say goodbye to the dated Victorian railway signally system and hello to Hitachi’s IoT technology, which will help to create extra capacity on trains and relieve overcrowding. Using data collected from sensors at stations in order to analyse demand, Hitachi’s tech, along with Ansaldo STS’s train control systems, will automatically optimise the number of trains, responding dynamically to sudden changes in passenger numbers. This will make trains run much more efficiently, resulting in more regular services and more seats, making commuting via train quicker and more comfortable. This Dynamic Headway solution will be trialled on the metro in Copenhagen – time for a trip to Denmark, I hear you say.