Attention commuters: Get polled

My downtown-living colleagues here in Ottawa think I’m nuts for putting myself through a home-office-home commute every day where each commute time can take between 25 and 45 minutes to cover the 30 kilometres each way. They might have something but my comparable was the crazy, frustrating commute I had at my last job — coming into the CTV National News Toronto Bureau at Front and Spadina from Oakville, Ont. every day. That commute was 40 kilometres long and could take up to 2.5 hours on a really lousy day and usually took an hour – to one hour and thirty minutes.

So I’m all for gadgets and services that help improve that commuting experience. With that in mind, I’m happy to post a call I received this morning for volunteers who wished to be surveyed about their commute. The call is put out by some computer geeks from the University of Maryland who are trying to devise some new software tools to help us commuters:

Dear friends,

We are conducting a brief survey at the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland and would greatly appreciate your participation.  Our goal is to better understand how people choose which route to take for their repeated trips when there are multiple ways to go – to support us as we design new mobile mapping software.  We use the term “repeated trip” to mean any regularly traveled pair of origin-destination locations, such as your commute from home to work, and the term “route” to refer to the particular set of roads you take for a repeated trip.

You are under no obligation to complete the survey, but your participation will help inform our research on developing tools to better support the tasks described above.  The survey takes only a few minutes to complete and your responses will be kept anonymous.

When you finish the survey, we would also appreciate it if you could forward this email on to your family, friends, and colleagues to solicit their participation as well.  The more responses we receive, the better tools we can create.

The survey can be found at:

Thank you,

Ben Bederson                                                           Aaron Clamage
Associate Professor of Computer Science                      Faculty Research Assistant in Computer Science

Catherine Plaisant
Associate Research Scientist in Computer Science

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