How Tech Is Impacting Our Daily Commute
The daily commute has long been a central part of our working lives. For many workers in the city, this commute covers their underground, overground, tram or train ride to and from work throughout the work, and contains the long practised routine of checking phones, reading books, applying last minute make up, or sleepily dozing on the commuter next to them. But with the digital revolution fast approaching, the routine of the commute, and even the necessity of the commute itself, is facing some big changes.
The Working Commute
With some of the biggest mobile networks now offering high speed and reliable internet connections on the previously ‘black spot’ underground service in London, many workplaces are seizing this opportunity for increased working hours, even out of the office. Three, Virgin and EE are some of the first to offer this underground wifi service, allowing morning and evening commuters to start their working days from the minute they step on the platform. Popular communication apps such as Slack and Team have made further steps towards constant working conversations, with virtual meetings and private channels for businesses to catch up at all hours of the day. Where previous commutes could be kept free from work, the new opportunities for underground internet access and mobile working platforms mean that the work can truly never stop.
The Multi-Tasking Commute
Another significant change being drawn from the technical commute is the new ability for commuters to do almost anything from their phones, tablets and laptops whilst travelling. With the underground station, tube stop, train table and tram seat becoming the latest innovative desk surface, other multi-tasking activities are being introduced for commuters through digital changes as well. Shopping, dating, gaming, networking and TV binging are all past-times to be enjoyed on the daily commute, as well as new smart home technology now allowing users to control their household on the way to work too! With these changes having a big impact on the way we travel, no time is left wasted, as we’re now expected to be working, thinking, socialising and planning, even on the 7:15 am train into work.
The Diverse Commute
Changing the way we behave on our commutes is one thing, but changing the ways in we travel at all is an incredible move towards our upcoming digital future. Green, or electric, cars are helping more and more eco-friendly commuters to return to the roads, making driving one of the most popular modes of travel after many years of social decline. Uber, and app-order taxi services are also on the rise, with so many city workers replacing the public commute with scheduled daily rides directly the office. Although recent revelations about Uber might have slowed these figures in London, other taxi services are still rising in popularity, marking the way for a new era of road-commutes once again.
The Lazy Commute
For a service that offers city workers an expensive ride to work, spent sitting down and avoiding any form of physical exercise, it’s difficult to imagine that the commute could get lazier. But studies reveal that new GPS technologies are already making commuters think less, and use their brains more on the everyday commute. Whilst we might be open to working more on our commutes, when it comes to directions, navigation and independent mapping, we’re relying more and more on our phones and computers to help us get to work in the mornings. SatNavs, Google Maps, Apple Maps and GPS systems are used by commuters every morning to direct users from the front door of their house to the front door of their office, on automatic, reducing any independent brain activity to almost nothing.
The Cashless Commute
Apple Pay, Google Pay and Android Pay are all offering up contactless services to help users pay quickly and efficiently for their commutes in major UK cities – meaning that physical fares are slowly being edged out. Using phones, cards and Oysters to pay for commuter journeys is reducing the amount of physical change circulating through the transport systems, transforming more and more monetary transactions to digital. Even without the use of public transport, digital payments for petrol, electricity top ups, pre-paid Uber journeys and electric bicycles are all integrating cashless transactions at a rapid pace, making the future of commuting a more than penniless affair.
Technology and transport are repeatedly overlapping and interchanging, and commuters across the country are embracing the changes. But how could tech impact your daily commute, as more and more digital services are introduced, what does the future of the working commute look like?