How Our Growing Commute is Costing Us More Than We Realize
Sitting in traffic – one of the most hated things by nearly everyone. Although we might find uses for the time such as listening to the ever-growing lists of podcasts and audiobooks or just using the time to mentally prepare ourselves for the day, the time that we spend stuck in traffic seemingly going nowhere, quickly adds up and becomes a mounting black hole of wasted time.
In fact, drivers in Middle Tennessee spend an average of 33 hours a year in traffic leading to a building cost of $1,300 a year per driver. With anywhere between 100,000 and 181,000 at any given traffic count checkpoint, those numbers add up quick for the total cost spent by all the drivers here in Tennessee—in the hundreds of millions of dollars that could be going somewhere else.
Transit needs, efforts, and costs have been on the minds of Middle Tennessee leaders for quite some time with rumors of improvements nearly every year, such as the now dead Amp mass transit line. While some of the so-called solutions have died, some rumors continue to circulate and hopefully will come into reality as the rising costs are becoming apparent to all of us. These stats from Moving Forward, a group that is dedicated to helping the regional transportation issues for Middle Tennesseans, has encouraged our regional leaders to reconsider and further brainstorm transportation solutions to reduce the costs, both time and money, for all of us.
A large part of the traffic problems is simply a result of the growing number of people coming to the Middle Tennessee region, but that isn’t the full story. We simply have a lot of people who are driving and commuting to their jobs. Further, much of the traffic happens at roughly the same times. With the majority of jobs starting between 8 am and 10 am, it also means that the majority of traffic occurs during those times.
Though many jobs like Nissan and other large employers have spread out their shift times for employees, with only a few doing this, it still leaves a large number of people on the roads at the exact same time, traveling in the same direction.
What can you do?
You don’t have to be a legislator to change the traffic situation. There are some small changes you can make in your weekly routine to help alleviate traffic (especially during rush hours) and to save time. Have you considered carpooling or ridesharing with co-workers? Only about 10% of commuters in the greater Nashville area carpool. By carpooling, you are putting fewer cars on the road, which means you are not only alleviating traffic but also helping the environment by emitting fewer toxins into the air, plus you have the benefit of using the HOV lane to get where you need to go faster.
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