Business Administration Education Guide

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wasting Hours Commuting

I love when I’m number one or when my city is number one. First in line for a new great movie, city is listed as number one for entertainment and so forth. However, there are times I don’t want the city I live in to be number one and this is one of those times. Los Angeles ranked number one as the most congested area for traffic.

According to a national study by Texas Traffic Institute released in September 2007, drivers wasted approximately 72 hours in one year sitting in traffic on the way to and from their jobs. The numbers of hours increased from 4 billion in 2004 to 4.2 billion hours in 2005.

However a US Census Bureau study found that the commute for 2004 stated that extreme commuters are commuting 90 minutes each way. In a year the number is closer to 900 hours a week. A article commenter did her own math of how much time she wasted going to and from work. Her average commute calculations totals nearly 200 hours a week wasted – she lives 20 minutes a way in non-traffic hours (early weekend mornings). In the US Census Bureau New York was number one for extreme commuting and California was number five.

Alan Pisarsky, a transportation expert and the author of “Commuting in America” says that the problems will only get worse. Reviewing the study results he summed it up this way: “Too many people, too many trips over too short of a time period on a system that is too small.”

High gasoline prices appear to have cut into not obligatory driving but not commuting to work, said David Schrank, an associate research scientist at the Texas Transportation Institute, and a co-author of the study. In addition, about three-quarters of all commuters drive alone to work, according to census data. The Los Angeles metro area had the worst congestion, delaying drivers an average of 72 hours a year. It was followed by Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington and Dallas.

The study offers options for easing congestion which included:

  • Adding roads or lanes where needed
  • Improving public transportation
  • Changing driving patterns through flexible work schedules, telecommuting and carpooling.

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters says Tuesday's report "is ample evidence that our current transportation model is broken. We need fresh approaches like new technology, congestion pricing and greater private sector investment to get America moving again."

Which contradicts what the report says.

“The problem has grown too rapidly and is too complex for only one technology or service to be ’the solution’ in most regions,” the report said.

Pisarski suggests that building more roads or mass transit options, such as trains or buses, would only encourage more long-distance commutes. The real change, he says, will be when companies build away from the metropolitan centers.



USA Today

US Census Bureau

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