Alex Goldmark:

Driving is stressful. To MIT researcher Kael Greco, piloting an automobile falls somewhere on the anxiety scale above giving a class presentation and below sky diving but just barely.

Those are the initial findings of a trial for what will become the Road Frustration Index, a plan from the MIT SENSEable Cities Lab and Audi to measure the stress of driving in 30 cities.

“Intuitively we all understand that driving is stressful, but it was surprising to see how high,” he said referring to the results of nine preliminary tests where he and others were wired up with a variety of stress sensors as they cruised around the Boston area.

Greco is a graduate student at MIT and the first guinea pig for the stress sensors. He took an early morning drive around the Boston area—suspensfully documented in a slick video below—and monitored his anxiety with cameras, sweat meters, and a Microsoft Kinect.

He readily admits he’s not crazy about driving. “I’m OK with it. I realize I get quite stressed out looking at the results,” he said. So someone else might respond to traffic in a different way. “We want to identify what factors trigger stress,” he said.