Here at Spark News, we love when a good deal of our daily articles are inter-related. For instance yesterday it worked out perfectly that our writer Kristin talked about majoring in mathematics and recent news harked on how important mathematics is for modern manufacturing. Hooray for mathematics majors! Today, Spark News touched on how influential your commute can be to your job and happiness. A killer commute can cause stress, health issues and lead to you quitting your job. This is all very unfortunate, but when recent news touched on mass transit and how it effects workers’ commute, we were stoked.
When you think about urban areas and work, you may think of how easy it is to get from your job to your home if you lived there. That would be a rational assumption seeing as though large metropolitan areas are veined with trains and buses everywhere. However, you have to take into consideration the number of people that work in the near outskirts of the city and work in the suburbs. According to statistics provided by the Brookings Institution, on average the 100 largest metropolitan areas has 63 percent of their jobs located outside of the immediate city. Most of the people that work in these positions also live in the suburbs. Think of how accessible the transportation is from suburb to suburb in your area. Unless you live in the Salt Lake City area, chances are the public transportation from one suburb to another is pretty shoddy.
This is what makes using mass transit so complicated. Sure, getting from your apartment or home in the city to your job in the city is likely pretty easy. It’s possible that it’s even safe to say that getting from your home in the suburbs to your job in the city by mass transit is easy as well. However, getting from your home in the suburbs to your job in a neighboring suburb or suburb on the other side of the city is likely very difficult. When the suburbanization of cities is large, this makes the commute to and from work for those living in the city a bit complicated. You may say, so what? It’s not a big deal to travel to and from work by car every day. On top of that, most commuters- about 74 percent- are solo commuters. It may be fine and dandy to make this daily travel in a sound economy, but with rising gas prices and a large strain on the consumer, the commute can get very rough and hard on the wallet. On top of that, most of those that are unemployed are finding that the available jobs are moving farther and farther away from them.
This may explain the reason why so many of the applicants I received when I was hiring were from areas 45-60 minutes away. To add more weight to the issue, statistics show that the average commute of workers is getting much longer. In 1983, the average commute distance was 9.9 miles. In 2009, the latest data, that distance shot up to 13.3 miles. In 1982, the average amount of hours wasted in traffic was only 14 hours. In 2010, that figure more than doubled to 34 hours. Talk about a stressful commute! As stated earlier, Salt Lake City is one of the few cities that has a great suburban transportation system. In fact, Salt Lake City has the nations highest public transit access- not New York, Chicago or LA. This is largely due to the great suburban transit access it has. Getting from one suburb to another in Salt Lake City is much easier than in the Big Apple. Interesting isn’t it?
On the flip side, when you think of public transit you likely think of New York. However, the city that is seen as the most accessible city in the country is only 19th on the list. Obviously, transit to an from suburb to suburb is a highly important aspect of a worker’s commute and one that should be taken into consideration more heavily these days. Otherwise, the commutes we make to and from work may only get worse- and who, I may ask, wants that?