extreme commuting

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pages: 458 words: 134,028

Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes by Mark Penn, E. Kinney Zalesne

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, big-box store, call centre, corporate governance, David Brooks, Donald Trump, extreme commuting, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, glass ceiling, Gordon Gekko, haute couture, illegal immigration, immigration reform, index card, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, late fees, life extension, low skilled workers, mobile money, new economy, RAND corporation, Renaissance Technologies, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, the payments system, Thomas L Friedman, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Y2K

And at the extreme of this trend are—aptly named by the Census Bureau—“Extreme Commuters,” people who travel at least 90 minutes each way to get to work. In 2000, there were 3.4 million such commuters in America, almost double the number from ten years before. Extreme Commuting is enough of a phenomenon that in the spring of 2006, Midas Muffler held a contest to reward America’s Longest Commuter. Attracting thousands of entries, Midas gave the prize to David Givens of Mariposa, California, who drives 372 miles round-trip every day to his job at Cisco Systems in San Jose. (He leaves his house every morning at 4:30 a.m., makes one stop for coffee, and is in his cubicle at Cisco by 7:45. At 5:00 p.m., he reverses the trip, getting home around 8:30.) Source: U.S. Census, Journey to Work, 2000 Who are these 3.4 million Extreme Commuters, and why are they working so far from home?

A whopping 76 percent of all commuters drive alone to work, and that figure is presumably even higher among Extreme Commuters. (It’s really hard to rally a carpool at 4:30 a.m., or for your same 125-mile route.) Gas prices can make or break this group’s careers. Mr. Givens, the winner of Midas Muffler’s Longest Commute award, said that when he won, he was spending about $800 per month on gas. An Extreme Commuter in North Carolina bristled when President George W. Bush said in his 2006 State of the Union address that Americans were “addicted to oil.” Are we, she demanded, or are we just trying to get to work? People in the cities may not mind a gasoline tax, but these 3 million people won’t be voting for a gas tax candidate anytime soon. Extreme Commuters are also at greater risk for dangerous behavior like road rage, as well as health problems.

Robert Putnam’s 2000 book Bowling Alone notably found that for every extra ten minutes you commute, you have 10 percent less time for family and community (unless, I guess, you take your kids with you to day care at your workplace). But since many Extreme Commuters signed on to the bargain in pursuit of small-town life, that seems particularly unfortunate, or particularly self-sacrificing. Many Extreme Commuters do this for their families—to give them a better life with better schools. Others wait for the weekends to enjoy the reason they drive all this way during the week. The Extreme Commuter group also has important commercial implications. According to a Newsweek report in 2006, fast food restaurants are coming out with whole meals that fit in cup holders, and some cars are now outfitted with more cup holders than seats.


pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour by Iain Gately

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Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, low skilled workers, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

The more it’s pushed, the more often it has to stop, until it can’t run at all and is speared at close range. Persistence hunts can take all day. More meat is the reward for more travel. The hunter’s counterpart in the world of commuting is the so-called ‘extreme commuter’, who travels either great distances or for many hours to get to work each day. In America, where average trips are short, the Census Bureau defines ‘extreme commuting’ as more than ninety minutes each way and reckoned that 2.5 per cent of Americans fell into that category in 2012. The media has crowned various champions of the genre – including Dave Givens, who won Midas Muffler’s*2 2006 extreme commuting title by spending an average of seven hours travelling to and from his home in Mariposa, California, to his work in San Jose in Silicon Valley, a round trip of 372 miles. He leaves at 3.30 a.m. and gets back at 8 p.m.

He also thought the journeys themselves to be ‘exhilarating… when I get in I’m pumped up, ready to go!’ Givens’s efforts wouldn’t necessarily impress British com-muters, a number of whom travel by train between London and Scotland, and spend over eight hours on the rails each working day. Even my trips on the 07.01 from Botley to Waterloo would have placed me in the category of extreme commuter, alongside every other traveller already on the train, and the tens of thousands of Britons who commute to London from the Midlands, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Kent and further afield. In a 2014 feature on extreme commuting, the BBC identified a number of Britons who travelled even further than Givens, including Stuart Williams, an IT project manager, who covers 218 miles each way between his home in Ramsbottom, Lancashire, and his office in London. His journey includes a twenty-five-mile drive to Stockport railway station, followed by two and a half hours on the train and half an hour on the Tube.

Index a Achen Motor Company 315 Acton 43, 46 Acts of Parliament 17 Acworth, Sir William Mitchell 73 aeroplanes 307 America cars 90–101 commuting 224–5 railways 66–80 American Automobile Association (AAA) 198, 209–10 American Bicycle Co. 91 American Motors 120 American School Bus Council (ASBC) 236 Andrade, Claudio 279, 280 Apple 295–6 Australia 232 autobahn 103, 109, 151, 166 b Bagehot, Walter 59 Balfour, A.J. 65 Barter, David Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder 168 Bazalgette, Joseph 60 Beeching, Dr Richard cuts 137, 146, 158, 313, 328 Beerbohm, Max 58 Beijing 160, 161 Metro 160, 162 Benz, Karl 90 Bern, Switzerland 86, 87 Besant, Sir Walter 57 Best Friend of Charleston crash 69 Betjeman, John 109, 135, 272–3 bicycle Boris bikes 167 Brompton 167 commuting in Britain 101, 138–9, 166–8, 216–17 commuting in Europe 166, 222 Flying Pigeon 161–2 penny farthing 101 Raleigh 139 Rover 101–2 Birmingham HS2 329 number 8 bus 141 Birt, William 61 Bishop’s Waltham 313, 327 Blake, William Marriage of Heaven and Hell 104 Booth, Henry 27 Boris bikes 167 Boston 69, 97 Boston and Worcester Line 72 Botley station, Hampshire 1, 2, 3–5, 7, 313, 334 Bowser, Sylvanus Freelove 95 Brazil 279 British Telecom 291–3 Bromley 23, 46 Brompton bike 167 Brunel, Isambard Kingdom 331 Buchanan, Professor Sir Colin Traffic in Towns 145–6 buses 48, 140–41, 235–6, 275–6 c California High Speed Rail (CHSR) 330, 331 Callan Automobile Law 95 carriages (railway) 29–30, 54, 55 in America 71–3 in France 83–4 WCs 33, 72, 226–7 women-only 188–9 ‘workmen’s trains’ 33–4, 60, 61, 83 cars 89–92, 195 commuting in America 101, 113, 116–17 in Britain 107, 142–4, 249–52 in communist countries 151–2 in Italy 149–50 congestion 192–5 congestion charge 312 driverless 316–17, 320–27 ownership 97–8, 100, 103, 125 radio 119, 255–8 SUVs 204–8 Central Railroad of Long Island 76 C5 (electric tricycle) 309–11 Chaplin, William James 15 Cheap Trains Act 61 Chesterton, G.K. 57, 105, 109 Chicago Automobile Club 96–7, 256 Great Fire of 1871 79 Oak Park suburb 79–80 Park Forest suburb 113–15 China 160–62, 314–15 Chrysler 119, 160 Churchill, Winston 308–9 City and South London Railway 54–5, 62 Clean Air Act 286–7 Cobbett, William 334 Collins, Wilkie Basil 52 commuting (car) see cars commuting (cycling) see cycling commuting (rail) comic representation of 137 commuter etiquette 72–3, 82, 249 extreme commuting 233–4 in America 66–80 in France 81–7 in Germany 80, 86–7 in Japan 177–84 in the 1950s 136 in Victorian times 33–9, 42 food in England 36–7, 247 in France 84–5 origin of the term 67 overcrowding 171–83 coronations 140 County Durham 14 Coventry 102 Crawshay, William 35 Croton Falls 66 Croydon 56 Cultural Revolution (China) 161 Cunarders 140 cycling commuting in Britain 101, 138–9, 166–8, 216–17 commuting in Europe 166, 222 Cyclists’ Touring Club 102–3 d Dagenham 107 Dahl, Roald 129, 135–6 Daimler, Gottlieb 90 Dalai Lama 210 Darwin, Charles 13, 32 Daudet, Alphonse 83–4 Daumier, Honoré The Third-Class Carriage 83 The New Paris 86 Landscapists at Work 86 Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) 317, 318 Delhi 211–13 Deng Xiaoping 161, 162 Denmark 222, 288 Detroit 110, 121, 123–4 ‘Detroit by the Volga’ 153 Dickens, Charles 12, 25, 50 food 36–7, 84–5, 247 Mugby Junction 84–5 Great Expectations 12 Our Mutual Friend 50 train travel in America 70, 71, 74 Diggins, John 3 Docklands Light Railway (DLR) 279 Downing, Andrew Jackson 66 driverless cars 316–17, 320–27 driving schools 215–16 driving tests New York State 94–5 UK 216 Duluth, Minnesota 79–80 e Ealing, London 38, 40, 42, 46, 56 Eden, Emily 58 Edinburgh 13, 14, 16, 329 Edmondson, Brad 314 Einstein, Albert 87 Eliot, William G.


pages: 296 words: 76,284

The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher

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Airbnb, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, car-free, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collaborative consumption, Columbine, crack epidemic, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tony Hsieh, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

The Poconos soon became bedroom communities of Philadelphia and New York, and Poughkeepsie became a suburb of Manhattan; similar development spread out into Loudoun County outside of Washington, DC, and Gwinnett County outside Atlanta. The traditional American Dream said nothing about ninety-minute one-way commutes, but that’s what people were willing to do to get the biggest, best home they could buy. By 2009, three million Americans were making “extreme commutes” of three hours or more round-trip every weekday. Sometime during this era, Bob Toll, who kept an apartment on New York City’s Upper East Side, learned that one of his doormen had moved his family from Queens to the Poconos. He asked him why he did it, when it meant he had to drive an hour and a half—on a good day—to work. “I wanted my family to have their own home and their own land,” the doorman said.

The Census Bureau says the average worker spends fifty-one minutes commuting each day, but it’s a tough figure to accurately gauge because people tend to underreport the amount of time it takes them to get to work. (When we talk about commuting in the United States, we are talking almost exclusively about commuting by car; close to 90 percent of U.S. commuters drive themselves to work, while less than 5 percent take public transit.) And the average doesn’t tell the real story. Some 3.5 million Americans now make grueling “extreme commutes,” defined as daily round-trip travel of three hours or more. A few years ago local television news stations started moving their first morning news broadcast from 5:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. or even 4:00 a.m. in some markets to capture the growing percentage of viewers who were leaving for work earlier in the day. “Commutes have increasingly cut into what we usually describe as sleep time,” one television executive quipped to the New York Times.

See History of suburbia historical view, 28–29 home-building boom in, 6, 16 home value increase in, 15, 188 as millennials’ residence choice, 19–20, 157–59 population growth in, 14 renewal and growth (2011), 167–69 shrinkage, alternatives to, 185 smaller/Top Tier Towns, 204 sports stadiums in, 176–77 urbanism, books in favor of, 166–67 wealth, resurgence in, 17–18, 163–177, 187–88 young families’ preference for, 111–12, 151–52, 169–172, 204–5 City (store), 18, 172 City replicas, 127–28 Civil Rights Act (1964), 43 Clayton Homes, 72 Clinton, Bill, 65–66 Colony Capital, 187 Community Growth, Crisis and Challenge (film), 39 Commuting, 94–99 average time spent, 94 commuting paradox, 98 costs of, 5–6, 21, 99–101 extreme commutes, 94–97 longer distances, and housing boom, 68–69, 71, 74–76, 104 necessity and suburbs, 5, 13, 46 physical/mental problems related to, 97–99 Compound concepts, 157 Concept homes, configuration of, 6–7 Condominiums, developments by suburban developers, 163–66 “Confessions of a Recovering Engineer” (Marohn), 57, 63 Congress for New Urbanism, 52, 113–15, 140 Conservatives, suburbs, support by, 62–63 Cooper, Gary, 194–95 Coors Field, 176 Corporations relocation to cities, 173–76 relocation to suburbs, 44 Cortright, Joe, 15, 132 Crime in cities, past view, 44, 167, 168, 179 reduction in cities (2011), 169, 188 in suburbs, 17, 179, 206 Critics of suburbia adolescents, negative factors for, 90, 98, 179 anti-sprawl movement.


pages: 300 words: 78,475

Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream by Arianna Huffington

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American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, call centre, carried interest, citizen journalism, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, David Brooks, extreme commuting, Exxon Valdez, full employment, greed is good, housing crisis, immigration reform, invisible hand, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, medical bankruptcy, microcredit, new economy, New Journalism, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, single-payer health, smart grid, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Works Progress Administration

THE LONG AND GRINDING COMMUTE There’s an additional twist on the traffic story. Over the past decade, high housing prices have forced many middle-class families to move farther and farther away from the overpriced cities they work in. Doing so has meant ever-longer commutes. By the year 2000, each day, 3.5 million Americans headed out on “extreme commutes,” defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as travel times to and from work of three hours or more each day.50 That is twice the number of extreme commuters there were in 1990. One in eight workers—17.5 million Americans—are now out their front doors every morning and on their way to work by 6 A.M. For more and more of the middle class, life now consists of sleep, an arduous commute, work, another arduous commute, then back to sleep.51 These stressed-out Americans turbo-charge their long journeys to work with PowerBars, vats of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee … and loneliness.


pages: 204 words: 67,922

Elsewhere, U.S.A: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms,and Economic Anxiety by Dalton Conley

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3D printing, call centre, clean water, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, feminist movement, financial independence, Firefox, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, late capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, McMansion, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, oil shock, PageRank, Ponzi scheme, positional goods, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, principal–agent problem, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

Over time, however, the commutes from the Sunbelt (and Northern) suburbs got longer, the traffic got worse, and the quality of life deteriorated. “Roughly one out of every six American workers commutes more than forty-five minutes, each way. People travel between counties the way they used to travel between neighborhoods,” Nick Paumgarten noted in April 2007 in The New Yorker. “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. They’re the fastest-growing category, the vanguard in a land of stagnant wages, low interest rates, and ever-radiating sprawl. They’re the talk-radio listeners, billboard glimpsers, gas guzzlers, and swing voters, and they don’t— can’t—watch the evening news.”13 Paumgarten tells us of one man who won the Midas muffler-sponsored “longest commute” award for his round-trip daily total of 372 miles (seven hours) to Cisco Systems in San Jose, California.