Commuting May Have Its Merits

Can commuting actually be a good thing? Certainly it's a hassle for many people. But some people also say that their commute offers benefits, such as the ability to transition between home and work, and the opportunity for some quiet time alone. In a new study by the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, 1,300 employed residents of the San Francisco Bay Area were asked about their ideal commute time. Less than 2 percent of the sample wanted a commute of under five minutes; the average time desired was 16 minutes. The implication, says study author Patricia Mokhtarian, professor of civil and environmental engineering, is that most people have an optimum commute time that is greater than zero and, while they may want to reduce a commute that is longer than they desire, few people would eliminate it entirely. Mokhtarian, an expert on commuting behavior and telecommuting, and ITS-Davis graduate research assistant Lothlorien Redmond presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in January.

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Andy Fell, Research news (emphasis: biological and physical sciences, and engineering), 530-752-4533,