Thursday, August 31, 2006

Commuters Rejoice, For Just A Few Seconds

Are you waking too early in the morning and missing time with your family because you return from work too late at night? Well, those times are coming to an end, some would say. The census bureau has announced that since 2000, the average daily commute time in the U.S. has gone down by 24 seconds. You read it right, our good friends who conduct the census actually took the time announce that your commute time is less than half a minute shorter!

And it gets even better because that’s only accounting for a one-way trip. That means your commute is actually 48 seconds shorter because I don’t know anyone who only drives to work and doesn’t bother driving back home, unless they’re employed by the mob, perhaps. So rejoice, break open the bubbly and make those early dinner reservations.

The new commute time average is now 25.1 minutes, which is down from 25.5 in 2000. I don’t know about where you live but the realistic commute time here in Southern California easily has to be double that. Around here, the urban sprawl has led to an urban crawl. It takes forever to get anywhere at any time of day where I live. The long travel times also apply to going to the grocery store, to dinner or just about anywhere. It’s an added challenge when you have twins that you recently potty trained in the car with you. Driving in traffic with them is a lot like the movie Speed. You can’t go over 55 mph and you’re driving around a ticking time bomb, so to speak.

Sadly, in most cities where the freeways have existed for 50 years now, there is very little room for highway expansion. Until we get to the days of the Jetsons where we can fly little teacup saucer looking UFO things to work, we will have to make do with long commutes. I have read that some freeways may become double deckers. Although by the time they are approved, engineered, built and opened, our commute time will be around 79 seconds less and all the work won’t be worth it because we’ll all be so happy with the extra free time. Let’s face it, for most of our lives, the definition of commute will continue to be “the action of driving long distances to work in a city where the driver cannot afford to live.”

But let’s not dwell on the negative grief that our ever-expanding nation has caused us. Let’s focus instead on all of the wonderful things we can do now with that extra 48 seconds we will have each workday.

With all that extra time, we can um, well, let me see… It’s more time to floss. It’s almost a minute sooner that you can sit down to dinner. It’s one less commercial on the radio or one less traffic update reiterating that the freeway you are currently on is stopped like a parking lot. 48 seconds is more than enough time to get another telemarketer call or bitten by one more mosquito while enjoying the extra time relaxing outside in the evening. It provides almost a whole minute more of game show watching. But most importantly of all, it’s 48 more ticks of the clock that you can spend blogging.


Odat said...

well i sure could use some more sleep!!
(god bless you with twins!!!!! wow)

(P.S. now you have me looking at all the word verifications and today's is:
mguugmgg: sounds like something i should yell from the roof tops cause I have 48 more seconds left!) lol


Michael C said...

Odat: I think "mguugmgg" is the ancestral name for Mr. Magoo. They shortened it when they immigrated to New York in the 1880s...maybe, I don't know. I gotta go, that took more than 48 seconds to wri...

C said...

I live in an area that has two lane highways...I am originally from Cali...but I'd gladly take the traffic over there to be closer to my family.

thethinker said...

I am so glad my school is only five minutes away (or 2 minutes if you double the speed limit. It's not like anyone's watching!).

mist1 said...

What am I going to do with all that extra time?

Michael C said...

C: It's funny because I would move to a smaller town in a heartbeat. If only we could get paid for blogging!

Thinker: Just don't double the speed limit when it's 65. That's usually when someone IS watching.

Mist: By typing that comment, you just used the extra time ;-)

ShadowFalcon said...

Just to be annoying,

Every second counts...especially if you work for the bomb desposal team.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Commuting by car in Detroit isn't bad at all. I very seldom get stuck in traffic. Unfortunately, the roads are in poor condition.

As for 48 seconds, gee ... sounds like a t.v. show, or perhaps a movie title. Run that by Hollywood why don'tcha. They're in need of ideas, or so I've heard.

Kevin said...

48 seconds??? How cool is that? Now I'll have more time to do the things I've always wanted to do. I can sleep in a little later, maybe enjoy the shower, oh...I can make French Toast in the morning now! I could get some quality time in with the kids, maybe help them with their homework, maybe romance the wife (48 seconds will be PLENTY!).

I'm so glad I have all this extra time.

the commuter-minimalist said...

A topic near and dear to me. My commute is 3 miles, maybe a little less. I can (and should) walk. There is no such thing as a traffic jam in my commute. If there is, i become Michael Douglas in "Falling Down" (in L.A. no less)and abandon the car. People here lament the lack of economic boom times in Syracuse. I say, our "vices" are our "virtues" in that we avoid all those negatives of "success." I used to commute from NJ to NYC, about an hour and twenty minutes each way, usu. by bus. I read more. It was many years ago. Now everyone probably is on his or her Crackberry or laptop; me, I took a nap (in the morning...that was the communal protocol). I'd do the same today. Lack of "ambition" has its sweet rewards.
(Positively spooky word verification: syscious -- which I interpret as: Syracuse, see, I owe you.)

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

I'm so out of it. I see that among thethinker's favorite music is the dandy warhols?! Awesome. I could care less about the music, but great name! I'm praying, with, um, fear and trembling, for someone to name a band "I Leap for Kierkegaard," so that yet unmade goods will fly from my online store. Either/or. Whatever. G'night.


I'm with the commuter-minimalist on this one. I would gladly pay more for housing and/or live in a crappy neighborhood, just to have a short commute. Oh, wait, that is what I do: 3 miles each way between work and my overpriced crappy-ass apartment, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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