3.4 million Americans "endure a daily 'extreme commute' of 90 minutes or more each way to work," USA Today reports. They're among the fastest-growing segment of commuters, according to a Census study, Journey to Work, released in March. Their commute times are more than triple the national average of 25.5 minutes each way. "
I had a few summer jobs with commutes longer than that -- I'd leave my parents' Long Island home at 7:20 a.m or so to get into Manhattan by 9. But that was because I was taking a car to a bus to a subway; actual mileage probably wasn't more than 25 each way. However, the commuters being profiled here are going so far that "they actually travel through several weather zones — from the edge of the Mojave Desert to the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, or from Pennsylvania resort towns in the Poconos to midtown Manhattan."
But it also goes along with a recent Globe article about Rhode Island towns marketing themselves as affordable exurbs of Boston.
Few people do this by choice (some do, preferring the high pay of a city job and a more rural lifestyle). Instead, it's mostly about finding decent housing in an attractive community with good schools that they can afford.
But personal affect on lack of leisure time aside, the societal impact here is staggering. Our tax dollars pay for building and maintaining all those extra lanes of highway needed. Our dependence on foreign oil soars when so many people drive alone in an SUV 150 miles or more roundtrip every day. So does our air pollution.
Wouldn't it make some sense to work on creating affordable, attractive housing closer to jobs -- or creating jobs closer to available housing?