By Chris Gilligan, corporate communications, ACS, A Xerox Company

Traffic jams may be the cause of more than just a commuting headache — a recent Wall Street Journal article details new research that suggests traffic fumes may also injure brain cells and synapses key to learning and memory.

According to the 2011 Texas Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility report, traffic congestion is impacting our wallets, too. The cost (based on wasted fuel and lost productivity) reached $100 billion in 2010 – more than $750 for every U.S. traveler. The amount of wasted time totaled 4.8 billion hours – 34 hours for every traveler.

At Xerox, problem solving is our business and the transportation world has its challenges. Just ask any city, state or federal transportation director tasked with reducing urban and highway congestion.

To help keep traffic rolling, Los Angeles and Maryland tapped Xerox, through its services division, ACS, for some HOT, E-Z and dynamic ways to improve congestion in their area:

  • HOT (high-occupancy tolls) lanes provide drivers with a faster and more predictable travel option. Tolls for HOT lanes change according to traffic conditions to manage demand and keep them congestion free – even during peak hours. When traffic increases, tolls go up. When traffic decreases, tolls will go down. Take a look at how L.A. drivers are taking control of their commute through HOT lanes.
  • E-ZPass gets easier with all-electronic tolls that allow drivers to stay moving, rather than slow down to go through a toll booth. Payment for tolls is collected via drivers’ E-ZPass transponders, allowing traffic to continue moving freely and openly. See how Maryland drivers are getting to their destination faster.
  • Dynamic pricing adjusts parking rates based on driver demand for spaces and availability.  By increasing rates on high demand spots, there is the potential for more parking spaces to become available on each block – also reducing traffic congestion and pollution generated by drivers hunting for curbside parking.  Check out how Xerox is helping L.A. drivers find a parking spot.

How is the traffic congestion in your city or town? Are you concerned with how traffic congestion impacts your health? So what would you do with an extra $750 a year back in your pocket or more than a day back to do what you please? Share your comments below.