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Thirty Helens agree: Smart-city technology can change our lives for the better

A new study from Mobileye suggests that Americans are excited to bring more technology into our commutes, as it can solve problems that have plagued us for years.

DOT Smart City Challenge

Anything to save us from clusterf$%&s like this will be welcome.


The US Department of Transportation's Smart City Challenge is almost over, as a winner is to be revealed in the very near future. But it's not really over. In fact, it's started a great conversation about using data and technology to fix some of our infrastructure issues in cities across the country, not just ones participating in the challenge. And a new study suggests that Americans are ready as hell for this to happen.

Mobileye, a manufacturer of collision-avoidance technology and a participant in the Smart City Challenge, commissioned YouGov to see how Americans want technology to improve their transportation experience. 1,164 individuals participated in the online poll, which is weighted to give results representative of US adults over the age of 18.

The main takeaway from this is that folks are growing more tired of traffic and are hopeful that technology can provide an answer. The five biggest issues folks hope smart-city tech can solve are road congestion, availability of public transportation, intersection safety, distracted driving and pollution. Increasing access to public transport alone can have demonstrable benefits to pollution, congestion and distraction.

Of course, it wouldn't be a poll about the future of transportation if it didn't involve autonomous cars. According to Mobileye's poll, the three biggest perceived benefits of self-driving cars are cutting down on fatalities and distracted driving, improving mobility for the young and old and -- again -- reducing congestion.

Many of these ideas are being put into place in various Smart City Challenge submissions, like in San Francisco, which envisions itself as a networked transit utopia, with expanded public transportation access, autonomous buses and ride-sharing out the wazoo. We'll find out which city has the best plan very soon, and if you're interested in seeing more from Mobileye's study, check out the (very tall) infographic below.