More to the point, however, is another new initiative, the Road Frustration Index. It's a clever mashup of data from Weather.com, traffic information from NAVTEQ, and Twitter feeds to show just how miserable life on the road is these days. Big metro areas are ranked in real time, with records dating back to early Sept. Audi didn't dream this thing up all on its own, but partnered with the Senseable City Laboratory at MIT to lend an air of credibility to the project, if nothing else. The Road Frustration Index is routinely tagging Sacramento, CA, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., as the most frustrating places to drive, which seems reasonable.
While Audi and the researchers at MIT are using factors other than just road congestion to come up with their rankings, a quick cross-check of the Urban Mobility Report from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University shows some overlap. TTI's 2011 edition has Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and New York atop its congestion rankings.
While we will grant kudos to Audi for acknowledging just how miserable life can be out there in the commuter world, at the end of the day, this is still an ad campaign. And while a new A6 might make your commute a heck of a lot more enjoyable, it's quite a stretch to suggest the car is one of the "solutions" to improving the state of our roads.