Back in the day it was “drive a Chevrolet and see the USA”, as the ad indicates cars were promoted for the freedom they offered. Now flash forward to your trip to work today as you sit in traffic waiting and waiting, and ask where is that freedom of movement? Do you want more freedom over your travel to work? Do you want to improve your happiness, want to add quality years to your life, want to save money, and reduce your stress? Do you want a better quality of life for yourselves and your children? If the answer is yes, what are you waiting for? Give your car a break and try a different mode of transportation, increasing the amount of time you walk, bike, or take a bus.
Active Prince William is a non-profit group focused on improving availability of transit options and quality of transit infrastructure within Prince William County. We encourage people to try different options versus driving to work, school and for other errands.
This is not an all or nothing approach. Try a new way of getting to work, school or other destinations at least once a month to see how it can make a positive difference in your life. People who take transit, walk or drive to work indicate a higher level of happiness. If you are on transit you have time to check out your smartphone (legally), read, or even take a nap. If your children walk or bike to school they may exhibit greater attention in the classroom, higher self-esteem, and get more physical activity on average.
Sedentary behavior is on the rise and time spent in cars adds to this by sitting for extended periods of time in traffic. Research shows that this increase in sedentary behavior is leading to a shortening of life spans. Wait you say we can just add another lane or two. Research indicates that adding lanes of traffic creates induced demand resulting in clogged highways, increased pollution, additional crashes, injuries and fatalities.
How about saving money (everyone likes this). Using transit, biking, or walking reduces money spent on fuel and maintenance for your car. Money saved can be spent on housing, education and the like.
Forbes recently pointed out that the average traffic delay, time spent in stop-and-go traffic, per commuter is 42 hours each year, up from 18 hours annually in 1982. We’re losing patience, getting less healthy, being unproductive, wasting money, and polluting the air. And from the flip-side perspective, a new report has found that reducing the time employees spend in cars is one of best things a business can do for itself, for a whole host of reasons.
Telework is another great option for many workers. There are at least five ways that telework benefits the employer and the employee, it increases productivity, lowers turnover, improves morale, is eco-friendly and is cost effective.
We are poised to have a huge growth in population and jobs. As we try to keep, and attract, new businesses we need to have a transportation base that is multi-modal. The future is one with less driving and more multi-modal options. This leads to a healthier environment where everyone can thrive.