Tuesday, August 22, 2006

One-Song Commute

“I’m fond of telling citified friends that I have a one-song commute, meaning whatever tune is on the radio when I leave for work is generally still playing when I park outside the newspaper.” Douglas Burns is a columnist and reporter for the Carroll, IA Daily Times Herald. He’s a third generation newspaperman at the paper and his roots are deep in Carroll. I enjoy receiving his weekly columns after meeting him at a talk in Wall Lake, IA earlier this year.

His column entitled: We can do a lot of living in the time others commute went on: “Because I rack up just 10 minutes of driving from home to work and back instead of the 90-minute two-way commute I have about 80 minutes more each workday or 400 minutes more a week or 1,600 minutes more a month or 20,000 more minutes a year in Carroll than I did in D.C. That’s 333 hours each year that I get back by living in a place where I don’t have to commute. That’s eight weeks of work at 40 hours per week. That astounding!”

His column goes on to calculate how many movies (166), books (20), time with kids, exercising (running six miles per day plus 20 minutes of sit-ups and pull-ups), play sports, watch sports, drink beer or have more sex. “Hey, it’s your time and this is a free country.”

I did some research and found that there are over 2.8 million Americans who are commuting more than 90 minutes. What do you think of their quality of life compared to yours, living in rural America?


Anonymous said...

Madison County, NY has a rural community that prides itself on being a bedroom community to Syracuse. They have about 3000 commuters that spend a minimum of 1/2 hour each workday morning and night overloading the same roads trying to get to and from work.

This Bedroom Community is at a disadvantage because--

• Commuters waste 10 days per year (240 hours) in their cars in traffic on the way to and from work.
• Commuters collectively burn over 1 million gallons of fuel per year- costly and pollutes the environment.
• The community forgoes the work place tax base.
• The community is a ghost town during the day; emergency squads often can not raise a crew.
• Community retailers suffer because the commuters tend to shop at the bigger city stores on their way home from work.

bill mcneal said...


Do you have the original source article that Mr. Burns sent you? I'd love to store that one away in my pile of factoids and columns. I work at Smart Growth America and I"m always on the lookout for stats like that.


BoomtownUSA said...

Great points on the disadvantages of communting and the harm that it causes communities. Thanks for sharing.

Bill: I'll get Doug's info and email you.

jack schultz