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Sat Nav should be banned…

… for everyone except me.

Sat nav should be banned...

I guess that’s pretty selfish, but I am not feeling very generous toward others, right now. Let me explain.

We are now in September and the children are back at school here in the UK. That brings a massive increase in road traffic as children are ferried to school, and parents go back to work after the main Summer holiday season. Avoiding traffic jams on the daily commute used to be achieved with a mixture of local knowledge, and experimentation on minor roads.

That has all changed. There have been huge rise in the popularity of satellite navigation devices – either as part of vehicle standard equipment, or portable units – to the point that a majority of drivers use them; 60% according to a 2013 poll of 24,000 drivers. One consequence has been many drivers turning off the clogged main routes and being directed along an apparently quicker alternative. But, so many are now doing it that that the diversion backs up too. In some cases, the delay turns out to be longer than sticking with the original route!

It is a similar experience to that of the airlines’ introducing online check-in, with ‘fast’ bag drop at the airport. Rapidly, it became the option-of-choice for many passengers and the queues at the bag drop desks became longer than for traditional check-in. It did not take long before the airlines dropped the ‘fast’ from the description of the service.

Back in the traffic jam, drivers are now looking for an alternative to the diversion and tempers are fraying, frustration building. It is not a good way to start your day.

Pity the poor mobile worker then, who has to contend with this kind of problem all through their day. Not only is it stressful for them, it means missed service level commitments and appointments, disappointed customers and, likely, unhappy managers. Even with all the best technology, it is a fact of life in a small, and crowded, island – an uncontrollable influence on how well our operations can perform, the experience we deliver and our brand reputation.

Now if I was the only person with a sat nav and access to the wealth of data on the road networks and current traffic conditions, how wonderful that would be. I could divert past all the problems and arrive at work feeling serene and stress-free. If only…

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