For many professionals, the work commute is a necessary evil. While there are little ways to improve your commute, these countries are taking things to a whole new level with unique solutions to everything from passing the time to traffic congestion.
France's Short Story Machines
All across France, commuters are swapping phone screens for short stories thanks to a cool little vending machine that prints out literature snippets at the touch of a button. Created by Short Edition, the Short Stories Distributor offers the option of one-, three- and five-minute reads that get printed on a strip of paper much like a shop receipt.
The lucky dip of literature, there's no telling what you might get to read. Each machine holds around 50,000 stories ranging from poetry to children's stories from 5,000 different authors. There are approximately 70 machines currently working in stations across the country and 170,000 registered users already signed up and using the machines.
UAE's Beating The Heat
When you live in the likes of Dubai, sitting at a bus stop in the sweltering heat is the last thing you want to do when you're on your way to work. Luckily the city has recognised the problem and implemented air conditioned bus stops. Not to be outdone, Abu Dhabi quickly followed suit, also installing enclosed shelters that keep commuters cool in the blazing mid-day temperatures.
The cool (literally) stops rolled out across Dubai in 2007, with 636 of the 2,700 stops receiving air conditioning. Not content to sit on their cooled laurels, Dubai further upgraded the stops with free WiFi access in 50 of the stops in 2015.
Germany's Ads For Tickets
The cost of commuting back and forth can start to add up in some countries around the world and the city of Dusseldorf, Germany is doing something about it. WelectGo came up with the novel idea of providing free bus and train tickets for passengers willing to watch four 20-second ad spots on their phones. It proved so popular that the company is quickly making plans to expand to accommodate the demand.
While the initial trial was somewhat limited, expanded versions will see users download an app and choose four videos from a wide list of sponsors. Once the requisite videos are watched, an electronic ticket will be delivered to the passenger's phone. The ticket covers the full cost and is good for transport across the city for up to 90 minutes.
China's Congestion Solution
Not too long ago, China made the news with a futuristic transport concept that allowed buses to drive over traffic. The oversized vehicle, known as the Transit Elevated Bus, was designed with a hollow through the middle large enough to allow cars to pass underneath. The hope was it would provide some relief from the growing traffic congestion being seen throughout China.
While many thought the unique idea would remain in the design phase, developers recently moved forward with the concept in first creating a small scale model and then successfully trialling the real deal in Qinhuangdao City in the northern Hebei province. Capable of reaching speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour, future versions will feature a single 22 metre long passenger compartment that's 7.8 metres wide with capacity for up to 300 passengers.