Friday, April 20, 2007

New Yorker article on commuting

"There and Back Again: The Soul of the Commuter" is an article in the New Yorker (April 16, 2007) discussing the impacts of commuting on individuals and society, and the heavy economic and social costs involved.

Some highlights:
The longest known commute is 372 miles a day, or 7 hours, between the Sierra foothills and San Jose, done by a Cisco Systems engineer who actually claims to enjoy it.

"The number of commuters who travel ninety minutes or more each way—known to the Census Bureau as “extreme commuters”—has reached 3.5 million, almost double the number in 1990."

Ideally the sides of the sleep-work-shop triangle are short. In today's large urban areas the commuter can spend an hour traveling each side. The smaller the triangle, the happier people are.

The "Drive until you qualify" concept refers to the distance commuters must travel away from work to reach an exit where they can afford to buy a house. Salary determines the length of the commute.

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