Wasting Away in Traffic: Commutes Starting Earlier

Sean noted earlier that the average American spends a full week per year in traffic getting to work; they are also getting up earlier to do it. Census data documents ever-lengthening commutes at earlier times: 15 million Americans are out the door before six, 2.7 more than in 2000.

It is changing people's lives- one example in a USA Today article used to turn in after catching the first few minutes of the 11 o'clock news. He'd walk or jog in the mornings. Now, he goes to bed at 9 p.m. and rolls out at 4:30 a.m. "If I leave home after 6 and there's an accident," he says, "I'm late for work."

According to USA Today: This "commuting creep" is changing the lives of tens of millions of Americans. It affects everything from the breakfast-food industry to television viewership trends, from traffic-signal timing to newspaper delivery times, from carpooling patterns to personal fitness routines. Increasingly early commutes also are altering workers' relationships with their families.

"What we're seeing now is this tremendous amount of traffic even before 5 a.m. It seems there's a big lifestyle change here," says Alan Pisarski, author of a wide-ranging study on commuting in the USA. ::USA Today


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