There and Back Again. The Soul of the Commuter

Not long ago a man in California was awarded a prize for America's longest daily commute, three hundred and seventy-two miles, round trip. While a seven hour travel day is very unusual, four hour and three hour round trip days are becoming more frequent. In "Commuting in America III", published by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, commuting was characterized as "the interaction of demography with geography". Many, many years earlier railways allowed people in larger urban centers such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago the option of living in more appealing and less congested suburban areas. By the time the automobile made significant inroads into the habits of daily life and started being viewed as a necessity, the commuter pattern was well established. Today, as a national average, nine out of 10 people drive to work and of those, 88% drive alone. However, there is a price to pay for the rewards of suburban and exurban living and that is commuting is consuming more time each day resulting in less time to enjoy home, family and friends. The very reasons the move to less congested areas was appealing in the first place are being lost. The author rides along with some commuters in New York city and Atlanta recounting their travel times, good and bad days on the road, delays and the reasons they continue to do so.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Pagination: pp 58-70
  • Serial:
    • New Yorker
    • Volume: 83
    • Issue Number: 8
    • Publisher: New Yorker Magazine Incorporated
    • ISSN: 0028-792X

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01046367
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 19 2007 2:00PM