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Commuting With The Help Of The Crowd

San Jose drivers who used a specialized social networking app to stay connected with each other experienced faster driving times and less impatience during their commute.

What’s the Latest Development?

According to a study published Monday by the New Cities Foundation, when drivers in San Jose, California were able to share travel information via mobile apps connected to customized social networks, they reached their destinations faster and were less stressed about arriving there. They also appreciated the ability to help others and give advice, says study leader Naureen Kabir: “It is the element of not just receiving information that is useful.” Researchers reviewed comments made by drivers using two apps, Waze and Roadify, and determined their levels of usefulness and overall feelings expressed.

What’s the Big Idea?

The study was done to see how social networking could be used to make commuting easier and more efficient. Despite fears surrounding distracted driving, drivers used the mobile apps both to plan their routes and to get real-time road information, which is data that city officials want access to as well. Kabir says, “It is a two-way street between traffic authorities and commuters, between community and municipality.” A future phase of the study may include an analysis of exactly how much time and fuel is saved by commuters using the social network.

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