Here's a piece from the WSJ that gives the secrets of the happiest commuters. I found the following to be the most interesting paragraph:
How to create the perfect commute? Track down a few happy travelers, and they'll tell you it's not just about length. People can enjoy commutes as long as 45 minutes, studies show—and men are less frustrated by long commutes than women. But a happy commute is predictable. It is productive—often enlivened by mobile devices and satellite radio. And it offers clear rewards for the hassle. A person who commutes an hour each way has to make 40% more money to be as satisfied with life as a person who lives near the office, according to research co-authored by Alois Stutzer, an economics professor at the University of Basel in Switzerland.
I'll comment on this in a minute, but for now here are a few more tidbits from the piece that I wanted to share:
- While the average commute has remained unchanged at 25.5 minutes in recent years, those traveling more than an hour each way rose to 11.1 million in 2012, up 300,000 from 2011.
- Women tend to be unhappier about long commutes than men, even after controlling for any improvement in income, job satisfaction or housing quality—perhaps because women tend to shoulder more housework at home, says a 2011 study in the Journal of Health Economics.
- While a growing number of people bike to work, it is small. More than 75% of commuters travel alone by car, Census data show.
- In big cities, car commuters waste 52 hours a year stuck in traffic.
Lots of thoughts/comments on this one, so here goes:
- I HATE long commutes. I've never had a really horrendous commute (the longest was 30 minutes), but 20 minutes one way is my maximum.
- As such, we wanted to buy our new house in Oklahoma so that it's 15 to 20 minutes away from the office. We could have been in a "nicer" area that was half an hour away, but sometimes traffic backs up that way and the drive is an hour or more. Besides, do the math. An extra 10 minutes each way every day is an extra 5,000 minutes (or over 83 hours) a year in commute time. That's time I could be doing something else (like being with my family). Not to mention the extra costs associated with a longer commute.
- That said, I don't mind a decent commute because it's my "reading" time. I ALWAYS listen to an audiobook or podcast while in the car. I can make travel time productive time and consume far more content this way than if I literally had to read it all.
- I drive since my commute doesn't really have a public transit option. I've taken public transit before and it's ranged from hideous (the bus in Pittsburgh) to very easy (the Metro in D.C.), so whether it's a good option or not depends a lot on the city.
- I had a friend that lived in New Jersey and had to get up at 5 am every day so he could leave home by 5:30 am to get into work in NYC by 7:30 am. He then left at 6:30 pm (he said if he had left earlier, he'd just sit in traffic) and was home at 8:30 pm. Imagine what his quality of life was.
- This statement was very compelling to me: "A person who commutes an hour each way has to make 40% more money to be as satisfied with life as a person who lives near the office." Wow.
Those are my commuting thoughts. What do you have to add?