You don't have to get stuck in traffic every morning. Thanks to smart technology you will arrive faster at your destination. That is, if you are not too stubborn.

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Every day countless Dutch people park their cars behind countless other cars on the highway. And that while half of the Netherlands is asphalted. There is often a better route. Thanks to increasingly smarter traffic information, it is also clear which connection is the fastest. The only requirement to arrive at your destination earlier is compliance.

Every half an hour the traffic jams are heard on the radio, information screens with travel advice are displayed above and next to the road and in many cars there is navigation software. This way you will always find the fastest route, without even knowing which road you are on.

Yet many people do not listen to those recommendations. We know better ourselves and would rather not be told that there is a better alternative, says traffic expert Jaap Vreeswijk. He obtained his PhD at the University of Twente on this subject. "We often have a preferred route and feel resistance to deviate from it. Only when the travel time increases enormously do we consider alternatives."

Prefer to take 'fast roads'

According to Vreeswijk, many drivers are stuck in old habits, even though all information signs point the other way. We do not really trust travel tips and prefer to take 'fast roads' as soon as the navigation sends us towards smaller roads. Approximately 70 percent of motorists therefore rarely look for an alternative route.

But we have long been beaten by technology. The travel advice combines information from various sources, Vreeswijk explains. For example, road authorities such as the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management not only know where traffic jams are, but also whether the rush-hour lanes are open or are going, and therefore how much space there is for cars. That knowledge is processed in the roadside advice.

Navigation systems from TomTom, for example, even use expected traffic information. "For each section of track, these systems know the average traffic on that day, per time unit," says Vreeswijk.

Because thousands of users enter their destination, the navigation giant knows where all those cars are going. In addition, road authorities and navigation companies are increasingly exchanging information so that those parties can coordinate their systems. Your navigation therefore knows better and better which roads you should avoid. As a motorist, you don't have that much knowledge, not even if you have seen a thousand times every meter of asphalt.

Minutes profit on regular journeys

Listening to advice therefore yields a profit. "If everyone used really good navigation services, the travel time could be reduced for almost everyone," the researcher says. This way you can often quickly win a few minutes on regular journeys to work.

The profit can increase even further for longer journeys. Vreeswijk does not dare to state exact numbers. "The profit of course also depends on the travel distance. And if the alternative routes take more time, you just have to join in the traffic jam."

But even for these unlucky people, traffic congestion may decrease as soon as others choose a more efficient route. If we are smart, we surrender to technology.

That requires great confidence, because the best advice does not always seem logical. "It is fairly well known how, where and when traffic jams will occur and will develop. As a result, you can get advice that seems longer based on current travel times," Vreeswijk explains. "When I leave the office in Utrecht at 6 p.m., it does not look very promising towards Amersfoort. But I know that traffic jams generally resolve before I get there. That means I can arrive without jams when I drive home. "

Do we want to listen?

According to the traffic expert, we can really better accept the advice. "In exceptional situations, such as work and accidents, the most profit can still be achieved," he says. "We cannot oversee it sufficiently. Then, up-to-date and personal travel information can yield a lot of profit."

But are we willing to listen to a navigation system that directs us towards the traffic jam? That's just the question. Even Vreeswijk sometimes has difficulty obeying the omniscient traffic jams. "Then I would rather rely on my own experiences."

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