Understanding The Commuting Paradox

Treehugger has an interesting piece today on extreme commuting, defined as "traveling a minimum of an hour-and-a-half to work and back" each day. According to the most recent census data (though we know there's more of that on the way) the number of extreme commuters has increased 95 percent since 1990; there are 3.4 million such daily travelers in America. From the post:

Extreme commuting has high environmental costs, because it takes a lot of energy to move people long distances (and it's worse since most of them are alone in their vehicles), but there are also high health and social costs. The stress adds up and can lead to health problems ("raised blood pressure, musculoskeletal disorders, increased hostility, lateness, absenteeism, and adverse effects on cognitive performance"), as well as family problems (especially for parents with young children).

The piece highlights the "the commuting paradox," which states that people accept the burden of commuting because it offers something in return (higher pay, lower cost of living, better schools, the ability to live in a desirable neighborhood if work is in an undesirable one), but as it turns out that trade-off often fails to deliver.

How long is your commute? Do you use a car or another means of transportation?

Photo (cc) by Flickr user Stewart.