TomTom has just produced an update on their report on how long motorists spend stuck in traffic jams in Australia and New Zealand. When I first looked at the numbers I thought about commute time, but this is really about the time when you are pretty much not moving at all. Suddenly 94 hours a year sounds like a lot. That’s a lot of lost productivity!
It probably won’t surprise you to see Sydney at the top of the list, but probably the most significant statistic in this report is the 16% increase in congestion in Auckland, New Zealand. This won’t be surprising to people who commute in Auckland given the continued growth in population.
How long are you prepared to sit in traffic and what will you do to avoid it? Many people tell me they have no choice but to sit in the traffic, other than starting early or finishing late. I don’t agree and I’d say neither does TomTom, otherwise they wouldn’t have real time traffic on their car navigation GPS devices. This is one of the major reasons why I recommend TomTom as the best GPS to buy for New Zealand, having tried most brands at some stage.
So what can you do if you are in New Zealand? There are loads of websites you can visit, but if you are driving, in my book a TomTom device is the best option, because traffic is fluid. The conditions can change significantly between the time you pick up your keys and the time you start driving. They will very likely change even during your trip.
- Buy a TomTom with Real Time Traffic. Many people say they have no choice, for example when they live on the North Shore. Wrong, I’ve gone the long distance into Auckland via SH18 and had a clean drive all the way through.
- Trust the nav unit. A couple of years ago TV put it to the test. They had one person use TomTom with HD Traffic, one following Google instructions and another following local agreed best routes. Watch the video and see what happens. To cut the story short, the guy using real time traffic really struggled with the apparent lack of logic, constantly getting new instructions to turn into minor roads. Guess who got there first? The instructions may change while you are driving, that’s why it’s called real time traffic:)
- Check out AA Roadwatch before you go.
- Check out the Auckland Traffic Webcams.
- Check out the NZTA Traffic Conditions site.
- have you seen the new Auckland Traffic current speed page?
- AA Journey Times is a great resource.
- Use a traffic app like Waze. I haven’t used it for a while and am have just reinstalled it on my mobile to see if it has improved. Last time I tried it, it was reporting a red light as an incident and the reports from the public were about where about where there were police with radars. I don’t speed, so I don’t care. Also the roads weren’t up to date in my area. Just checked and they still aren’t. The app looks smarter, but looking good doesn’t get me where I want to go in a hurry.
- Google also has real time traffic, if you set up a route and provides you with alternative routes. How good is it? I’d love to see some tests. The big difference to me is that TomTom uses a combination of all of their users as well as commercially tracked vehicles. Google tracks mobile devices. I doubt that it can tell the difference between 15 people in a bus, or 3 people in a car. It’s way better than nothing, but what is your time worth?
- Telecommute. This one is really interesting because many people don’t need to be in their office all day, every day. One of the barriers is a companies not trusting that their staff will work from home, or will get distracted and do non work related things. Of course people could do those in the time they would have spent in the car so it would be a win win. I’ll discuss this in a future blog, because it is worth exploring how to make this work successfully. Some days have worse traffic than others.
What is 94 hours of your time worth? Let’s put it in perspective. How much do you earn an hour? How many things didn’t you do because you didn’t have time? Ever missed your child’s school performance or sport? How do you recover that? Ever arrived late or not at all for an important meeting. Ever been late for work?
The really cool thing is that if you have a device like a TomTom with Live Traffic, you can contribute to the information yourself, so the more people using it the better the quality of the information.