How To Improve Your Commute This Spring

People waste countless hours of their precious lives in their daily commutes and it’s about time we did something about it.

1. Traffic and Alternative Commuting Options

Researchers from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found the average American commuter wastes 54 extra hours a year in traffic delays. The “extra hours” stand for the extra time spent traveling at congested speeds rather than free-flow speeds. This figure translates to a long weekend or an entire TV Show and that is only an average figure.

Commuters in the 15 most-congested cities spent an average of 83 hours stuck in traffic in 2017 whereas in Los Angeles, the most congested metro area, the stalled traffic robbed commuters are in for an average of 119 hours that year. But it’s not just the rush hour as free flow traffic was literally a dream at all hours before the pandemic.

Besides COVID-19 that put the world on pause and that we all hope will become history soon, there’s no one way to clear the roads.

We have a puzzle to solve as necessity is the mother of invention. Carpooling, public transportation and alternate modes of transportation such as biking are least disruptive to your lifestyle. Moving closer to work or working from home are more extreme. You could also ask to work four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days to enjoy three-day weekends and save 20% per year in commuting costs.

But individual choices can only go as far. We also need big-picture measures like adding capacity in critical transportation corridors, diversifying urban development and new working policies, with many companies already shifting to remote work for good after learning a lesson or two from the global pandemic.

2. Benefits of Carpooling

With gas prices rising, your commuting budget is going to start running on fumes. As the miles add up, your auto car insurance and maintenance costs will rise more quickly. You’ll need to have preventive maintenance performed more frequently, and your car’s value will depreciate at a faster rate. having a car and dealing with a commute seems like too much of a “given” in life. Most people don’t consider alternatives. But don’t ignore your options as there are many non-extreme ways you can dramatically trim your commuting costs such as carpooling.

Car pooling is an easy and effective choice that usually only requires a bit of coordination among some colleagues at work. Besides saving you a ton of money from fuel and ownership costs, carpooling comes with many other benefits.

It increases your wellbeing

Workers with longer commutes experience a steady downward decline in their well-being, more so than the rest of us. From neck and back pain, to obesity and high cholesterol, the commute takes a toll on our health as well as our mindset as long commutes are also linked to higher rates of divorce, depression, and death. Long commutes are dispiriting so even through carpooling wont’ reduce the time, it will lessen the stress of driving by sharing the trip with someone else. It will be time well spent as you can get to know your colleagues better or even make a new friend.

35% of parents state that driving their children around is more stressful than filing taxes so teaming up with other parents to carpool kids can help eliminate some of the time and stress that comes with a child’s extracurricular calendar.

Reduce your costs

Besides fuel, a good carpool relationship could allow you to cut down to one family vehicle, helping you cut down the various costs of car ownership, such as gas, insurance, and maintenance.

Make your commute more productive

Unlike drivers, you will have the luxury of working or reading while you travel. You can also use your commute time to listen to podcasts, learn a foreign language or just relax and enjoy the ride.

3. Other Ways You Can Protect The Environment

Reducing the number of cars on the road reduces the number of pollutants in the air, and thus improves air quality. But there are many other ways to help protect the environment.

Conserve water

Wash only full loads of dishes and laundry. Don’t take extra-long showers or at the very least, install a low-flow showerhead.

Make your home more energy-efficient

Making your home and lifestyle more energy-efficient will help you reduce your West Penn Power bill. Make sure your home is well insulated with double pane windows that do a much better job at keeping indoor air in and outside air our than their single pane counterparts. You also need to ensure your attic and basement are just are insulated as a single draft equates to energy loss because it allows indoor air to escape. Installing smart devices such as a programmable thermostat usually pays for itself over long-term savings and increased level of comfort.

Adopt energy-efficient practices

Energy-efficient practices can be as simple as turning off lights and appliances when they are not in use. Wash your laundry in eco-mode which doesn’t take as much energy because it uses cold water. Line-dry your laundry instead of using the dryer. Dress for the occasion to ease the burden from your thermostat: dress lightly during summer and layer up during winter. Train your mind to think in an energy-efficient way whenever taking action. When it comes to green living, the sky is the limit.

Ditch plastics

Endocrine disruption that leads to countless health issues is just one of the many reasons why plastics does not belong in our homes. Plastics don’t do us nor the environment any good. We’ve already dumped tons of it into the world’s oceans and caused wildlife great harm. It’s time to be held responsible for our trash so the least we can do is avoid buying products packaged in plastic and recycle the one you have.

Takeaway – For most people, commuting to work is one of their largest recurring costs. The good news is there are many ways that suit different comfort zones to trim these costs or at least make the time spent worthwhile. Just pick a combination that works for you and you’ll be amazed at how much you can save. Every individual who chooses to forego solo automobile travel is doing their part to reduce air pollution, but there are many other things we can do to help protect our environment.

Author: Doug