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Drivers Buffeted By Recession, IBM "Commuter Pain" Survey Shows

Commuters much more sensitive to gas prices
Desire to spend time with family instead of commuting soars
55% unlikely to make a long Labor Day Weekend driving trip

ARMONK, NY - 04 Sep 2009: The second annual IBM Commuter Pain survey released today indicates that the recession is taking its toll on urban motorists, who have become significantly more sensitive to gas prices and are looking for ways to spend more time with family and friends.

The survey results portray the American commuter as re-evaluating the time spent getting to and from work. Frustration levels are rising -- 45% identify start-stop traffic as the most frustrating part of the commute (up from 37% last year), and 32% identify aggressive/rude drivers (up from 24% last year).

If commuting time could be reduced, 52% would spend it with family/friends – nine points higher than 2008; 37% (6 points higher than 2008) would exercise more.

And drivers are more sensitive to the price of gas. This year, 20% said that $3.50/gallon gas would lead them to seriously consider alternatives to driving alone, in 2008, it was 9% at that price level.

“Conducted at a time of great change in the United States, the Commuter Pain survey clearly demonstrates the vast impact that commuting and traffic congestion have on our economy,” said Anne Altman, general manager of IBM’s global public sector. “The time has come for cities and states to embrace real, long-term solutions that unclog our nation’s roadways.”

IBM Commuter Pain Survey – Key Findings
Analysis of the survey results indicated a number of key findings related to how traffic impacts commuters:

Commuter Pain Cities Chart
The index is comprised of 10 issues: 1) commuting time, 2) time stuck in traffic, 3) value of time; agreement that: 4) traffic has gotten worse, 5) start-stop traffic is a problem, 6) driving causes stress, 7) driving causes anger, 8) traffic affects work, 9) traffic so bad driving stopped, and 10) decided not to make trip due to traffic.  (Click the image to see a larger chart)

For the complete report, please click here: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/attachments/28320.pdf

The Commuter Pain Survey was conducted by IBM to better understand consumer thinking toward traffic congestion as the issue reaches crisis proportions nationwide and higher levels of auto emissions stir environmental concerns. These events are impacting communities in the U.S. and abroad, where governments, citizens and private sector organizations are looking beyond traditional remedies like additional roads and greater access to public transportation to reverse the negative impacts of increased road congestion.

IBM is actively working in the area of ‘Smarter Transportation’ using a team of 150 scientists and a group of IT services professionals to research, test and deploy new traffic information management capabilities in cities such as Brisbane, London, Singapore and Stockholm. Findings from the Commuter Pain Survey will be used to assess citizen concerns about traffic and commuter issues; expand solutions like automated tolling, real-time traffic prediction, congestion charging, and intelligent route planning; and serve as a basis for pioneering innovative new approaches to traffic mitigation.

Contact(s) information

John Buscemi
IBM Media Relations
212-745-4080
203-252-9377 (m)
jbuscemi@us.ibm.com

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IBM has compiled the results of the survey into an Index that ranks the emotional and economic toll of commuting in each city on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most onerous. Here’s how the cities stack up. The index is comprised of 10 issues: 1) commuting time, 2) time stuck in traffic, 3) value of time; agreement that: 4) traffic has gotten worse, 5) start-stop traffic is a problem, 6) driving causes stress, 7) driving causes anger, 8) traffic affects work, 9) traffic so bad driving stopped, and 10) decided not to make trip due to traffic.

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