Better Roads Staff
A World of (commuter) Hurt
A new IBM survey of the daily commute in a cross-section of some of the most economically important international cities reveals a startling dichotomy, says the company: While the commute itself has become a lot more bearable over the past year, drivers’ complaints are going through the roof.
The annual global IBM Commuter Pain Survey reveals that, in a number of cities, more people are taking public transportation rather than driving, when compared with last year’s survey. In many cities, says the company, there were big jumps in the percentage of respondents who said that roadway traffic has improved either “somewhat” or “substantially” in the past three years. The survey results suggest that aggressive infrastructure investment in some of the most rapidly growing economies seems to be paying off, says IBM.
The Index ranks the emotional and economic toll of commuting in 20 international cities. Of those cities, Montreal provided the least stressful commute, Mexico City the most painful. In many cities, the survey recorded significant increases, when compared with last year, in the number of respondents who said that roadway traffic has increased their levels of personal stress and anger and negatively affected their performance at work or school.
“Commuting doesn’t occur in a vacuum,” said Naveen Lamba, IBM’s global intelligent transportation expert. “A person’s emotional response to the daily commute is colored by many factors – pertaining both to traffic congestion as well as to other, unrelated, issues. This year’s Global Commuter Pain survey indicates that drivers in cities around the world are much more unsettled and anxious compared with 2010.”
Read the entire survey at www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/35314.wss v
Better Roads Turns 80
It was 80 years ago this month that Better Roads was published for the first time. That’s some achievement whichever way you look at it. When I sat down to write a column about this anniversary at the beginning of the year, I remember thinking that this is such a long period of time that fortune, chance, luck, call it what you might, cannot explain it. Think of the eras, the bad times, the changes that dramatically re-shaped the highway and bridge industries over those years. This magazine has been valued by a lot of people with a very wide range of needs and wants, for a very long time.
I wrote some new words to go here, but I’ve gone back and reprised a section from that column because I think those words were better: Longevity alone can be misleading. Survival is not always evidence of excellence. But as I look into the old pages, I think I see why there is an 80-year history. What I want, and it seems to me what my predecessors sought, was to edit a magazine that was always anticipated and valued highly by its readers. That is how we reached this anniversary. And that’s how we’ll reach the next ones.
We are like so many of the people who live and breathe this industry – intensely passionate about it. That may be the single biggest factor in our 80-year success story. You can see our first 75-year retrospective on the betterroads.com website. I recommend it. These old stories will bring you back in touch with much of the history of our industry as it was made. v
A Feel Good Story
Lorie Tudor was hired by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department in 1981 as a clerk typist. Today, she is the department’s assistant chief engineer of planning, and apparently the highest-ranking female engineer ever in the agency.
According to an Arkansas News story by Rob Moritz, she managed only two years at a tech college before leaving for the full-time clerk typist job at the department. Rising as far as she could without a college degree, she left and with family support took on a civil engineering degree at the University of Memphis.
The rest, as they say, if pure feel-good history. For the full story, go to arkansasnews.com and type her name into the site’s search box. v
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