THE WEB Traffic moves faster on the information highway, and people are using the Web to help reduce congestion on the tarmac too. At www.autobahn.nrw.de, drivers in North-Rhine Westphalia can see a real-time simulation of traffic conditions on its 2,250 km of motorway. The man behind the site, Michael Schreckenberg of Duisburg-Essen University, is now at work on the world's largest traffic-information system, using sensor-gathered data to channel travel advice to TV, radio and motorway screens. If you still can't face the rush hour, try staying home like the 2% of Europeans who now telework daily.
BIKES As 30% of Dutch commuters know, for distances of less than a few kilometers cycling is the quickest way across town. Some cities help make the ride even easier. In Trondheim, Norway, for the last 10 years, an electric-powered bike lift has towed 25,000 cyclists a year 130 m up one of its steep hills. And Vienna is keeping faith in its free, help-yourself-to-a-bike scheme: despite having lost hundreds to thieves and vandals last summer, 1,000 cycles will be back on the streets this May. This time, you can borrow one of the Vienna Citybikes free for one hour, using a credit-card swipe as a deposit.
CARS First it crawls through your commute, then it lounges expensively for, on average, 22 hours a day. What are you paying for? Well, you don't need to own a car to enjoy one. An estimated 100,000 Europeans mainly in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands now belong to car-sharing schemes. Once an eco-driven niche, in Germany it's now a moneywise move in over 200 cities. Opt as well to live in a car-free housing development such as the 450-resident one in Floridsdorf, Vienna, and instead of a garage, enjoy a communal fitness room, play area, rooftop gardens and sauna.