A new report issued by the United States Department of Transportation, Beyond Traffic, acts as an “an invitation to the American public to have a frank conversation about the shape, size, and condition of that system and how it will meet the needs and goals of our nation for decades to come.” The report, which is available at http://www.dot.gov/BeyondTraffic, discusses the quality of transportation in the United States and what needs to be done to increases our D+ grading (the quality of our road infrastructure is ranked 16th in the world).
Outlined in the report are staggering statistics about older Americans (By 2045, the number of Americans over age 65 will increase 77%), technology, population shifts (approximate growth in 30 years: 70 million people) and income inequality (10% of our population takes home one-third of our national income) but one that stands out is that, on average, we spend over 40 hours stuck in traffic each year. These bumper-to-bumper scenarios create accidents, delay freight and other timely deliveries, increase stress and create an overall sense of apprehension. Because most all activities while driving are unsafe and illegal, getting stuck in traffic simply kills time.
Although 40 hours spread out over a year many not seem like a lot, that number can be broken down into various activities that can be much more beneficial than sitting in a car. 40 hours is the equivalent to:
- one-week of work and the pay equivalent
- 80 30-minute massages
- nearly two full days of vacation
- 40 one-hour yoga lessons
- 13 three-hour higher education classes
- 240 miles jogged at a 10:00 minute pace
- 20 movie date nights
- 10 museum tours
- Biking all 184 miles of the C&O canal
- 80 dog walks
- Volunteering at the local animal shelter 40 times
See? You can be the most educated, relaxed, affluent, well-traveled, physically fit and fulfilled person possible if you skip the deadlock!
Various solutions are presented in the outline; including autonomous cars, robotics, GPS improvements and real-time information (TransIT plans to introduce real-time transit tracking in mid-2015) but what about the simplest solution of all: AVOID THE DEADLOCK. By having access to numerous forms of public transportation (TransIT Connector & Shuttle buses operate M-Sat until 9:45pm) like TransIT, the MARC train, MTA Commuter buses that connect with METRO and commute alternatives like telework and compressed workweeks, the bumper-to-bumper can be eliminated.
In addition, utilizing ridesharing solutions like vanpooling gives commuters access to HOV lanes, saving an astounding 29 minutes EACH WAY from areas like Frederick County (2013 Commuter Connections State of the Commute Survey). New vanpools can qualify for a Vanpool Incentive Program subsidy saving a potential $500/month for the first six months.
Instead of killing time, why not make it the most productive and useful part of your day? Learn more about TransIT’s inexpensive and safe commute options at www.frederickcountymd.gov/transit.