|August 03, 2004|
New Study Reveals America's Most Challenging Cities To Navigate
|Getting to know a city is a big job, but getting through a city shouldn't be. Unfortunately, some of America's metropolitan areas present a navigational challenge for even the most intelligent, savvy drivers. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by "Best Places to Live" expert, Bert Sperling, Boston is America's "most challenging city to navigate", followed closely by Washington D.C. (2), San Francisco (3), Baltimore (4) and New York (5)*. |
Following the national launch of Avis Assist, a mobile phone-based navigation system powered by Motorola's VIAMOTO software, Avis Rent A Car and Motorola teamed up with the city study specialists at Sperling's Best Places to analyze how difficult America's largest 75 cities are to navigate. Many popular business travel destinations ranked high on the roster, including Los Angeles (7), Seattle (8), Chicago (12) and Orlando (15), while other business travel hot spots such as Salt Lake City (61), San Antonio (64) and Las Vegas (65) were dubbed "driver-friendly."
Sperling evaluated the nation's top metro areas according to the following criteria:
- street layouts (grids, diagonals, windiness, one-way streets);
- overall design and layout (how spread out the market is);
- travel time index;
- percent of congested freeway and street lane miles;
- bodies of water (rivers, lakes, oceans, bridges);
- complexity of directions needed to travel from major airports to city center;
- annual delay per person (person hours);
- days of snow exceeding one-and-one-half inches; and
- days of rain exceeding half an inch
To see the full ranking of the 75 markets, visit www.avis.com
The "Cost" of Getting Lost
Demonstrating growth for the first time since 1999, U.S. residents are projected to take more than 122 million business trips in 2004, an improvement of 4.2 percent from 2003**. As business travel continues to rise, the need to maximize productivity on the road is becoming increasingly important. According to a consumer survey of 1,000 Americans commissioned by Avis Rent A Car and Motorola***, 65 percent agree that there are certain cities they consistently find difficult to navigate, and 57 percent agree that getting lost is one of the worst things that can happen on a business trip. Further, nearly 70 percent of travelers agree getting lost can negatively impact the outcome of their business meeting, and 93 percent said that arriving late to a business meeting as a result of getting lost makes a poor impression.
So what are the options? Paper maps get cumbersome and can be difficult to use when driving alone, and online mapping services often are incorrect. But there is a solution. To avoid getting lost, 68 percent of travelers would prefer using a Global Positioning System navigational tool (GPS) over a paper map, and 72 percent prefer to use a GPS navigational tool with any car they rent. Four in five travelers find tremendous advantages in having a GPS tool they can use while driving, as well as take with them when they leave the car. Furthermore, 86 percent of Americans traveling to unfamiliar destinations find specific turn-by-turn directions very helpful.
"Many of the cities identified in the study as being among the most challenging to navigate are, in fact, our top car rental markets," said Scott Deaver, executive vice president of marketing for Cendant Car Rental Group, the parent company of Avis. "That's why we offer Avis Assist, a tool to help business travelers easily navigate their way through unfamiliar markets and make the most of their time on the road."
Powered by Motorola's VIAMOTO software, Avis Assist gives travelers the ability to bypass unwieldy maps and confusing gas station directions by gaining instant real-time, spoken directions through a convenient mobile handset. Now available in 60 cities nationwide, Avis Assist helps travelers reach their destinations, and offers users the ability to receive information on areas of interest such as local restaurants, the closest ATM, copy centers and service stations.
This month, Motorola and Avis Assist will roll out new features to help make navigating and driving even easier including:
- A detour function, giving drivers the ability to avoid the next one, five or ten miles of a congested roadway - along with alternate routes around delays.
- Even more specific spoken, turn-by-turn directions combining street names and street numbers. For example, drivers will hear, "...in a quarter mile turn right onto Route 45 - Manheim Road."
- Automatic re-routing. Instead of pressing a button to calculate a new route, Avis Assist will automatically announce new directions when a driver makes a wrong turn.
"Staying connected while on the go is critical - not only in business, but also in balancing the demands of a busy home life, social obligations and the spaces in-between," said Neal Campbell, general manager of location based services for Motorola. "Motorola is in the business of helping consumers manage their worlds through mobile solutions that make life simpler, seamless and more fun -- in and out of the car. Our expertise in GPS, cellular and software technologies drove us to create VIAMOTO and help consumers travel with ease, confidence and peace-of-mind."
Avis Assist units can be rented in conjunction with any Avis vehicle at available locations for $9.95 per day.
Bert Sperling's Top 10 Most Difficult Cities to Navigate
- Boston, MA
- Washington, DC
- San Francisco, CA
- Baltimore, MD
- New York, NY-Northeastern NJ
- Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood-Pompano Beach, FL
- Los Angeles, CA
- Seattle-Everett, WA
- Providence, Pawtucket RI-MA
- Norfolk-Newport News-Virginia Beach, VA
Additional Consumer Survey Findings
When it comes to asking for directions, the age-old gender divide still holds true. 64 percent of women report that they are the ones who have to stop and ask for directions compared to 41 percent of men.
68 percent of Americans agree that getting lost causes tension with other passengers in the car.
Women (71%) are more likely then men (56%) to feel stressed when they don't know where they are.