If you live in a city of any reasonable size, chances are you spend at least an extra hour of each day making your way to and from work: the time you’re not paid for, but that significantly adds to the length of your working day. In capital cities, it’s not uncommon for the work commute to take upwards of three hours each way.
Your job is tiring enough without having to factor in extra hours getting to the workplace. The good news is technology may already have some answers to hand.
Cycling to work
While it might not sound particularly futuristic, cycling is enjoying a bit of a renaissance particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cities all over the world are investing heavily in cycle networks to aid commuters willing to put in the effort.
As public transport currently poses such a threat in terms of transmission of the virus, it’s little wonder so many people are turning instead to pedal power. As an added benefit, cycling isn’t just good for you – it’s good for the environment too.
E-bikes for travel within cities
E-bikes are perfect for short journeys around a city. The docked bikes are on a constant charge while parked, ready for the next rider. As they’re fully electric, there’s no need to build up a sweat – the bike takes you from A to B, with or without you pedaling.
Flexible hours and the end of the 9-5 culture
When you consider it logically, the idea of working 9 to 5, Monday-Friday is such an antiquated approach to employment. Business these days is global, working across time zones and continents.
As the shift to homeworking continues, we’ll likely see an end to the traditional 9-5 ethos, allowing employees to structure their hours around personal schedules and leading to greater flexibility in when we go to work.
Automated parking services – license recognition and prebooked spaces
While driving to work is a necessary evil for many, worse yet may lie on the other side when you reach your destination and try to find a place to park. Parking is a real problem in larger cities where space is at a premium, and car parks are often hard to find.
Thankfully, solutions already exist in the form of ‘smart’ car parks, which can save considerable time and effort trying to find and pay for car parking. Smart car parks include automatic license recognition (to monitor time spent parked), intelligent car park ticket machine (to allow for contactless payments), and the ability to prebook parking spaces.
Understanding road congestion through technology
Traffic congestion systems are already in use by the larger tech companies. Both Google and Apple license the GPS data provided by their handsets, which can be used to generate traffic network congestion maps.
When coupled with information provided by emergency services (and also user-generated data), the view of traffic flow and congestion can be surprisingly detailed and helps drivers plan their routes better to avoid bottlenecks.
Work from home instead of commuting
Another straightforward way to reduce traffic congestion is, somewhat obviously, to completely remove the commute to work. In light of COVID-19, employees are increasingly working from home. As the world slowly emerges from lockdown, this new style of remote work is unlikely to just disappear.
While the commute to work might not be completely over, in the future, it’s likely our travel to work will be far less frequent, considerably less time-consuming and much less wasteful.