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Can social media improve your commute?

Posting in Cities

What are the benefits to commuters and their cities when commuters are connected through social media?

That's the question New Cities Foundation, a nonprofit organization, teamed up with Ericsson, the city of San Jose, California, and the University of California to find an answer to.

In a new study, the researchers used data on commuter sentiments from commuter smartphone apps Waze and Roadify. By tracking the commuter sentiment of over 15,000 people in San Jose and using focus groups, the researchers found that the connected commuters -- ones who could receive and share commute information in real time -- felt less stress and more sense of community.

"In today's ICT-enabled environment and with the widespread use of smartphones and social networking tools, information can be transferred among individuals more seamlessly than ever before," said Patrik Cerwall, Head of Strategic Marketing and Intelligence, Business Unit Networks at Ericsson, in a statement. "In the networked society, where everything that benefits from a connection will have one, these types of information sharing will help cities reduce commute times and commuters' energy consumption which benefits the environment, the cities and the citizens over the long term."

But it's not just commuters who stand to benefit from a connected commute. Cities can also glean valuable information from the sentiments of commuters. With the help of this data, cities can become more knowledgeable about commuting problem spots which can lead to smarter planning and investing.

Read the full report here.

Photo: Flickr/Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious

— By on December 11, 2012, 5:08 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure