Trust the New York Times and Austin Frakt to tell it like it is~driving on your commute to work is hazardous for your health. If ever we needed more evidenced based rationale for why promoting walking, cycling and transit as the only ways to commute, they are right here.
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute estimates that in the United States the average commuter is stuck 42 hours a year in traffic.That figure doubles in Los Angeles, and traffic issues are identified as the top concern of citizens over personal safety and affordability.
The cost of lost time and idling fuel is estimated at over 100 billion US dollars a year, along with personal and environmental health impacts.
“Another toll is to psychological well-being, stemming from the sense of helplessness we experience in traffic, and its unpredictability. This, too, can be quantified. One study found that to save a minute of time spent in traffic, people would trade away five minutes of any other leisure activity. Another study found that we deal better with the commuting delays that we can anticipate.”
Here is a troubling finding~an article in the Journal of Public Economics documented a link between congestion and domestic violence, finding the examination of one section of Los Angeles highway congestion was associated with ” nighttime domestic violence” increasing about 9 percent.
“Those who can walk or bike to work tend to have a double advantage. Not only do they avoid the harmful consequences of traffic, but they can also improve their health through exercise. Younger people are more likely to prefer that style of commuting, and are driving less than previous generations.”
That is where road pricing comes in. Don’t listen to the boosters saying that autonomous vehicles will solve congestion, they are just part of it. But economics based congestion pricing will eliminate many single person vehicle trips, making commutes by walking, cycling and public transit easier and more comfortable. And you can point to these studies showing it keeps you healthier too.
images:latimes & achrnews