Photographer: Chris Turner/Stone Sub

Yes, Your Commute Really Is Getting Worse

Increasingly long rides to work are stressful, frustrating, and bad for our health and the economy.

A big part of our work lives takes place not in the office, but instead stuck in traffic or on a crowded train en route to and from our jobs. The average American spends 25 minutes getting to work, up from 21.7 minutes in 1980—and people who live in major metropolitan areas have it much worse (especially in New York City, where commuters are currently suffering through a “summer of hell”). Only a quarter of lucky Americans have sweet 15-minute jaunts to work. The rest of us are spending a lot of time shuttling between work and home, and in the past few years there’s been a spike of so-called supercommuters, people whose daily commute takes 90 minutes or longer. These increasingly long rides are stressful, frustrating, and bad for our health and the economy.

Is there a way to make commuting tolerable again? Rebecca and Francesca talk to Richard Florida, an urban studies theorist and author of The New Urban Crisis, about how traveling to our jobs got this bad, and the piecemeal initiatives attempting to make our work commutes a teeny bit better.

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