Feedback from the experts panel of group n° 066


Traffic jams, what can we do?

Nice, Grasse, Antibes, Valbonne, 7.40 a.m., at Monday morning … roads let us show cars out of sight, traffic is completely congested. This script repeats day after day, week after week, and seems out of reach of any improvement. Everyone is conscious about this problem and its several consequences, but nobody has already found solutions to reduce or resolve traffic jams problem.

Roads obstruction by too many cars results of three principal causes. The first of all is the fact that everyone tends to take his car alone. The notion of carpooling develops step by step in France but it will give oneself time. The second reason, everybody go or leave the work during same hours, around 8 a.m. and around 5 p.m. Every companies and employees perform with same work time. Finally, the third reason results in concentration of population and thus cars in areas like cities and suburbs. When roads do not put up with too many cars flows from concentration, it conducts in substantial traffic jams in these areas.

Regarding to consequences of this phenomenon, we can count on three. Firstly, it represents a big waste of time and stress for drivers locked in traffic jams. It conducts to the second consequence that it is a loss for companies. Indeed, employees affected by roads congestion are less focus on their job, more stressed, arrived often late at work. Also, it can be a source of work absenteeism and conducts financial losses and human potential losses for companies. To conclude, the third consequence is the pollution. Traffic jams during rush hours conducts in pollution peaks like in Paris or Beijing with pollution rates dangerously elevated for human health and environment.

It exists many ways of improvement to reduce traffic jams but none of them are really satisfying. The most famous is the carpooling like with Blablacar. It is in real expansion with drivers but require engagement from them. Then, there are public transports which are not properly developed in certain areas like in Sophia-Antipolis or Valbonne (schedules and times issues). But there exists technologic platforms especially in Sophia-Antipolis to get in touch employees to improve carpooling. Finally, flexitime (job flexible time) could reduce traffic jams by dividing cars flows on all the day and not only during rush hours.

The traffic jams problem is hardly due to several causes like concentrated areas and human behaviors, leading several consequences with different losses for employees, companies and also for health and environment. But alternatives to reduce traffic congestion must be implemented and developed in large scale to hope and ensure a significant reduction of this phenomenon.