Traffic study could ease congestion on commutes

(NBCNC/NBC) - Plans are being tested to ease rush hour congestion, and one of the best solutions is right at the tip of your hands.

According to IBM's annual commuter pain survey, 41 percent of respondents said traffic has gotten worse. And nearly 70 percent said their health has gotten worse because of it.

In San Francisco, cell phone GPS have been used to track commuting habits of volunteers with the idea of soon having improved "traffic alert" apps.

"So, this is almost the equivalent of telling you 'Chris, it's going to rain. You need to take an umbrella,'" said IBM's Vinodh Swaminathan."But only for traffic, and in a much more sophisticated way."

Technology's not the only way to unclog a highway, though.

Traffic snarls are now rare in Stockholm, Sweden, due to simple adjustments made by authorities.

The Swedes simply turned main roads into and out of Stockholm during rush hour into toll roads, which experts said is something U.S. cities should consider.

Experts say 30 percent of traffic congestion in cities can be attributed to people searching for parking spots.

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