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  • TRP News: Driven Crazy or Traveling Happy?

    Day after day, commuters can be stuck behind the steering wheel at great expense to their health and wallet. According to EducatedDriver.org, the average U.S. worker spends about 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work. For most commuters, that’s more than four hours per week, or about 200 hours per year driving. traffic

    The stress of driving can take a toll on the body and attitude. It can lead to headaches, backaches, sleep problems, fatigue and more. Personal connection can be lost, especially as we forget that other drivers are human people, too. How often have you arrived to work grumpy after frustrating red lights at e-v-e-r-y intersection, waiting in time-sucking traffic, and avoiding (or challenging) rude drivers? 

    Driving for commutes is also expensive. The AAA states that we spend between $12-$18 every day to own and operate our vehicles ($3,000+ per year). Those who work downtown can pay an additional $800-$1,000 per year for parking.

    In contrast to driving alone, you could cut driving expenses in half with carpool buddies while enjoying company on your route to work. Subsidized transit passes are a fraction the cost of driving, and biking and walking are free.

    Livability.com says that people who commute in the means they most want to are happier. Walking and biking to work are the happiest forms of transportation. With increased blood flow and all those feel-good hormones being released by working the body, it is no surprise they’re happier trips! Negative view of taking transit?

    Not so says long-time transit riders who find great benefits, including a reduction in stress, the gift of time to themselves, and making personal connections with bus buddies and other people they meet along the way. To help speed up commutes, Sun Tran provides 12 Express busses that serve commuters in the morning and late afternoon. An additional 11 routes provide service every 15 minutes or less from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Many smiles to be had on transit!

    Life is not all about being happy, but happiness does make life much more enjoyable. If you choose to drive, do yourself a favor and find a way add a companion to the ride to avoid being driven crazy by your commutes. And if you can, give other trip modes a try (see resources below) until you find your happy place. Life is too short to spend 200 hours per year feeling oppressed and stressed by work commutes.

    Trip Reduction Resources for County Employees

    Visit the Travel Reduction Program intranet site for information on our Guaranteed Ride Home Program, transit, bike, walk, and carpool/vanpool resources and info on commuter contests. 

    Sign up with Karen.Wilhelmsen@pima.gov to be on a transit, bike or carpool list serve. Sign up for Pima County Employee Commute Trips & Tips Facebook group.
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