Sunday, November 26, 2006

Repost Sunday: Commuters Rejoice, For Just A Few Seconds

I rerun some of my older posts on Sundays as a way to highlight stories that you may have missed. Just think of it as 'thought recycling' and a day off, or that I am incredibly, incredibly lazy.

This story seemed suitable since we all have to get back in our cars, face the traffic and head back to work after the long holiday tomorrow (although I have to be back in the office today, unfortunately). This was originally posted August 31, 2006.

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...

Yippie! I can get to work earlier!!!!

R2K said...

Michael C, Michael Do.

I suck. Hey lets exchange links already, it has been like a year.


Yippee! 48 more seconds a day to blog. If I had like 48 more hours a day to blog, it might be enough time. :)

P.S. I have tagged you.

Josie said...

I walk to work.

I once walked along 5th Avenue in New York City during 5:00 rush hour on a Friday afternoon. I walked 20 blocks and kept pace with the cars next to me, and actually beat them to my destination.


abbagirl74 said...

I am so glad you had some great posts for me to read after I came back from vacation. Knew I could stop by and count on you to make me laugh.

ShadowFalcon said...

I would be gald but my bus ride only take 20mins anyway hooray for excellent public transport. But what will you all do with the extra second...