Starting to miss your commute? Take a virtual drive through cities around the world while jamming out to their local radio stations

Starting to miss your commute? Take a virtual drive through cities around the world while jamming out to their local radio stations
Drive and Listen's virtual cruise through Istanbul, Turkey, set to local radio.Drive and Listen/Gezeyenti/YouTube

Coronavirus lockdowns have forced millions of people around the world to stay home, emptying out typically busy city streets in the process.

Some experts have even predicted that the pandemic could end rush hour traffic for good as home working becomes the norm.

Many people are celebrating the change of pace and enjoying the extra time in their day, perks of working from home, and the environmental benefits resulting from fewer cars on the road — while some are using the open roads as an opportunity to speed).
But others, after months stuck at home, may be missing their morning and evening drives, if for no other reason than it got them out of the house.

For those folks, a mesmerizing new website, Drive and Listen, offers a brief escape by letting them take a virtual cruise through any of nearly 50 cities while tuning into local radio.

Erkam Şeker, the website's creator, told Business Insider the original idea came to him because he missed his hometown of Istanbul, Turkey, and found himself watching videos of people driving around the city.

"It was so nice and beautiful to see my favorite parts as if I'm driving around. It helped me a lot to fight with this feeling of missing," he said.

So Şeker rounded up high-resolution dashcam footage from YouTube users around the world so others could see their own cities as well. "I was sure that there must be a lot of people who somehow stayed far away from their hometown and want to go back to their old life, you know, drive in their city, drive to work," he said. "So there was a chance for me to help those people out there around the world to cope with this strange feeling."

But Şeker said he eventually realized he wanted to bring the experience closer to reality, so he added a dashboard with local radio stations and ambient "street noise" (audio from the original videos). That helped the website appeal not just to those seeking nostalgia for their homes, but also those who simply missed seeing the world.

"At first, it got popular because people missed driving in their cities, but nowadays, I guess it's more like because people missed traveling in other cities," Şeker said.

Until international travel picks up again, it may be the closest we come to actually visiting these places, but at least it's free.

Currently, the list of cities includes: Amsterdam, Antalya, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Curitiba, Delhi, Dublin, Guadalajara, Hawaii, Havana, Istanbul, Izmir, Kyiv, Lauterbrunnen, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Miami, Mumbai, Munich, Moscow, New York City, Nice, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Rio De Janeiro, Rome, Saloniki, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seattle, Seoul, St. Petersburg, Singapore, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Toronto, Warsaw, Wuhan, Yekaterinburg, and Zurich.