Dizengoff St. traffic.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A staggering 79% of Israeli drivers say traffic is their greatest cause of everyday stress, according to a survey by the Israeli-founded GPS navigation company Waze.
Respondents said dangerous driving on Israeli roads and traffic congestion to and from work were more stressful than the increasing price of food, the security situation and the divide between the country’s religious and secular communities.
The Waze study was based on a survey conducted via nearly 700 online interviews, in a representative sample of Jewish and Arab drivers.
Since 2000, crowding on the country’s roads has grown by 63%, and the number of vehicles on Israel’s roads has increased by 84%, according to data published in September by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
“Understanding the user is very important. We carried out this study so we can understand how users perceive the situation on the roads,” Waze vice president Fej Shmuelevitz told The Jerusalem Post.
“Problems that we have in our neighborhood, including politics and the security situation, are seen as second-category concerns compared to the daily concern of traffic and behavior on the roads.”
Two-thirds of respondents said they intentionally left home early or worked late during the last month in order to avoid traffic jams, and one-third of drivers postponed business meetings to avoid sitting in traffic. A significant majority also said traffic jams had a negative effect on their emotions and private lives.
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Some 73% reported feeling tired and lacking motivation at the workplace, or feeling tired or angry at home, at least once during the last month after sitting in a traffic jam. Approximately 83% said traffic jams negatively affected quality time with family or friends.
In order to reduce time spent in traffic and its negative effects, 49% of respondents said they would be willing to travel in a carpool with two other individuals.
Alongside Waze’s well-known free GPS
navigation app – which some 100 million drivers use to avoid traffic jams – the company provides a carpool app that enables commuters to find rides with other local app users in a further effort to reduce traffic.
“In the past we wanted to bypass traffic jams. Today, it’s more about reducing and eliminating them,” said Shmuelevitz. “The only way we think this is possible is by reducing the number of cars, and the way we can do it is by carpooling, matching riders and drivers.”
Shmuelevitz added that carpooling can be expanded through incentives by various municipalities and companies. These might include free parking or specialized carpool lanes.
Launched initially in Israel, the carpool app is now available in Brazil and 13 US states and is set to become available soon in additional locations.
“Just like Waze, which started in Israel and expanded to the rest of the world, the carpool app has the same concept,” Shmuelevitz said.
Waze was founded in 2006 as FreeMap Israel by entrepreneurs Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar and Uri Levine. It was acquired by Google for approximately $1 billion in 2013.
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