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Leaving Early May Cost You Time 678

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the time-for-a-telecommute dept.
markmcb writes "OmniNerd has an interesting traffic article demonstrating how leaving early for work may cost you time. Brandon Hansen uses a year's worth of data collected on his urban drive to and from work along with statistical analysis to show the effects of varying departure times and considering external factors like nearby school districts' schedules. In the end, a minor shift in his departure time results in saving driving hours equivalent to over a third of the vacation time given annually by his employer."
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Leaving Early May Cost You Time

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  • well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by hjf (703092) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @06:32PM (#15186861) Homepage
    I do remote sysadmin so it takes me a few seconds to get from bed to where I work (about 40 centimeters). The problem is the time it takes for me to actually wake up.
    • Re:well... (Score:4, Funny)

      by DynamiteNeon (623949) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @07:39PM (#15187142)
      My situation is similar, though occasionally I get a little bit of congestion in the high traffic areas of the house.

      Usually, that's resolved with a gentle kick to the butts of my two dogs to move out of the way.
    • Re:well... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mks113 (208282)
      My 1 minute walk to the office would be a lot less inconvenient if I had something other than dial-up in my home.

      Of course I'm in the middle of africa, so having internet at all is a bonus.
  • by foundme (897346) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @06:33PM (#15186863) Homepage
    It doesn't really matter if you leave work earlier or later, as long as you leave slightly different from the rest of the pack, the road will most likely be empty.

    However, your employer will always notice if you leave early, so the idea situation is to leave late.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 23, 2006 @06:53PM (#15186959)
      The ideal time to leave is two minutes after your employer. They won't know whether you're working twenty minutes late or three hours late.
    • Rule of 13 (Score:3, Funny)

      by kybred (795293)
      When I worked for a large company, we used to joke about the Rule of 13.

      The rule is that your work start time and end time should add up to 13.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @07:12PM (#15187047) Homepage
      This is not true in most metro areas. Espically in large metro areas the size of Detroit, Chicago,NY or other huge city.

      I tried big time to find the windows of opportunity to make it in to and out of detroit without sitting stopped for 30-60 minutes because some idiot creamed himself all over the 696.

      I found there are several windows, in the morning, any time from 6:00am until 7:39am you MUST be past Novi and heading into detroit or you will be screwed and late to work by a minimum of 1/2 hour because of the above mentioned idiot. Leaving for home has some very strange windows of opportunity. at 4:00pm to 5:00pm you are as screwed as if you left at 5:00pm. BUT, 5:15-5:30 is a window that will give you a clear drive. after 5:30 it's a parking lot again until 6:15 and then 7:00pm-7:00am finally, construction completely thorws everything off and those guys at the State love to screw with traffic. HOV lanes usually will not work well because big time congestion will spill over into the HOV lanes (Detroit does not believe in HOV lanes, I'm waiting for Hummer and other vehicles that get less than 7mpg and less than 2 passenger lanes in the state)

      Anyone with a simple logbook and about 30 days of driving the same route modifying departure times by 10 minutes each day will get the data they need.

      When school is out, things change so re-run the data collection... same for construction that takes 1+ years.

      It is not hard to get the data. But it is fun to give a smug wave to the ass that blew past you at 90mph about 20-30 minutes ago as you pass him stopped in traffic because you chosae the correct lane to stay in while he keeps switching lane to lane. (speeding get's you nothing in metro highway driving, anyone that pays attention knows this.)

      The only real solution is to work for an employer that is not moronic and allows work times to be shifted and also allows Telecommuting. IT blows my mind how many managers are so low IQ that they can comprehend that shifting 1/2 your IT department's schedule by 1 hour will make a huge difference in morale and even gives the department an advantage in serving the rest of the company..
      • But it is fun to give a smug wave to the ass that blew past you at 90mph about 20-30 minutes ago as you pass him stopped in traffic because you chosae the correct lane to stay in while he keeps switching lane to lane.

        Yes, that is one of great pleasures of life. More often than not, I even beat these guys to the same destination.

    • by cgenman (325138) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @08:52PM (#15187386) Homepage
      I used to have a 3 hour (each way) commute from San Jose to San Rafael (north of San Fransisco). I was on the night shift, but that happened to have me leave at the "going home" rush hours and coming back a bit before the "leaving home" rush hours.

      I first started by avoiding the city entirely... hitting 237 to 880 and up. But the milpitas junction was always such a crawl that it took far longer than just driving through the city. Then I took 101 up, which would slow to a predictable crawl and take a very long time. Then I started taking the secret route: 280 up through the foothills. Speeds are always in the 90's and there is never a jam unless someone flipped their porche. It still dumps you out in the city, but you avoid the 101 SF traffic jam.

      Going back, that route is a nightmare of drunk drivers and morning traffic. Ironically, coming up 580 to 880 to 237 gets you in at ludicrous speeds... I've been going 110 and getting passed by cops on a fully empty 5-lane road.

      A three hour commute chopped down to just one hour by judicious exploration of possible routes.

      The same has been true in Boston. I used to drive my girlfriend to work from Porter Square to the Cambridgeside Galleria. After experimenting with Mass Ave, Memorial Drive, and a few other routes, it became clear that the fastest way to get there was by taking Somerville to McGrath Highway... both underutilized throughfares that nobody needs to commute on in the morning. A 1 hour commute chopped down to 1/2 hour.

      I guess what I'm saying is experiment with your drive. Every place I've lived, from Boston to LA to the silicon valley, has had alternate routes that (once discovered) chopped commute time down tremendously.

  • by Quick Sick Nick (822060) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @06:33PM (#15186865)
    Unfortunately, he did not take into account the time it took to do this analysis, and now he has even less free time.
    • by jheath314 (916607) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @09:03PM (#15187414)
      Heh. Touche!

      Mind you, he probably counts the time to do the analysis as an enjoyable use, a sort of intellectual hobby. Hobbies (not to mention the OSS movement) resoundingly demonstrate the Tom Sawyer principle: what some would do only for money, others will do for fun.

      (Apparently Alan Greenspan solves partial differential equations in his head to clear his mind in the morning. What a guy...)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 23, 2006 @06:33PM (#15186867)
    That avoiding rush hour traffic could save you time? I appluad this excellent study, and I hope this team continues their fantastic work!
  • Late April (Score:5, Funny)

    by biocute (936687) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @06:38PM (#15186883) Homepage
    That is why I am leaving in late April.
  • What rush hour? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rurik (113882) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @06:38PM (#15186884)
    Wow, site is already slashdotted.

    I work in IT, and a specialized form, around a metro area. Rush hour is typically from 8-10AM, and 3:30-6PM. I live 45 miles from my work, and have tried for years to find the best time. The best solution I found was getting up at 5, leaving by 5:30, and cutting my 1-hour commute to half an hour. And, it works great! I get in by 6:00AM, and have nearly two hours of quiet with a few coworkers before the loud masses come in with their whining and requests for help.

    I just wish that coming in earlier meant leaving earlier.
  • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Sunday April 23, 2006 @06:42PM (#15186899) Homepage Journal
    i'm moving to a new job next month. one of the primary considerations i put into housing, was to be as close as possible to work. commuting sucks. we are moving into a smaller place but i figure i could get as much as an hour or two a day more in time with my family. (and the smaller housing is forcing us to get rid of a bunch of junk and simplify)
     
    with the price of fuel and maintenance, and time with kids that wont be kids long, it was worth it to really make an effort.
    • by fossa (212602) <<pat7> <at> <gmx.net>> on Sunday April 23, 2006 @07:15PM (#15187056) Journal

      My commute to work is about 30 minutes by bike (plus 5-10 minutes to change clothes) and 20 minutes by car. While I would love to live closer, I can't complain too much. One thing I really love about biking is that I don't have to put up with traffic. Thankfully, the way to and from work is fairly well covered by bike paths. I find driving very frustrating just due to small things like waiting at stop lights and stop signs and getting stuck behind another driver. My biking speed is so slow compared to my driving that the change in speeds for stop signs and lights doesn't feel as frustrating, and I'm never stuck behind anyone.

      • by scumdamn (82357) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @09:57PM (#15187569)
        I have the choice of either riding my bike or taking the bus. If I ride the bike to work, I usually get there before I would if I had taken the bus. However, since the ride home is uphill most of the way, the bus is significantly faster. My compromise is to take my bike and buy a monthly bus pass for $10. I can put the bike on the rack on the front of the bus and (in case the bus is late) I can ride all or part of the way to work (I have one transfer). I typically load the computer up with news (slashdot, msnbc, cnn), opinion (dailykos, talkingpointsmemo), and comics (too many to list). It's much more enjoyable than driving.
  • by Rahga (13479) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @06:42PM (#15186904) Homepage Journal
    "... In the end, a minor shift in his departure time results in saving driving hours equivalent to over a third of the vacation time given annually by his employer."

    In France, this means you would gain 2 additional months of free time. ;)
  • Missing the Point (Score:4, Informative)

    by pen (7191) * on Sunday April 23, 2006 @06:43PM (#15186907)

    It's not leaving later that saves you time, it's not driving when everyone else is driving. Not only does this ignore anyone who doesn't drive to work -- my subway commute is a lot faster during rush hour -- but it totally misses the point.

    At a previous job, leaving 15 minutes early would save me 30 minutes of commute time, since I would get in before rush hour traffic.

    • Not missing the point, really. Much like the author of the FA, I am not in an area where mass-transit exists, much less is an option.

      I save a HUGE amount of time by going to and from work after rush hour. Fortunately my employer permits this (within reason). As an added bonus, I get to sleep late. For whatever reason, sleep between 6 AM and 8 AM seems to be the most "productive" for me, regardless of when I go to bed.

      Granted, I now live close enough that when the temperature and weather are reasonable (mean
  • 80 hours vacation? (Score:2, Informative)

    by WarwickRyan (780794)
    "Spread out over 50 work weeks, that results in a total savings of over 30 hours a year - the equivalent of about a 38% boost to my existing 80 hours of vacation."

    Now I'm always hearing how "good" we have it in Europe, what with 25 days (187.5 hours) holiday each year plus 8-10 bank holidays.

    Finally something us Brits do better than the Yanks (even the US version of our Office is better).

    • by Firethorn (177587)
      He's getting the minimum standard vacation time.

      After ten years at one of the companies I worked for, I would have gotten double the leave/year. Heck, right now I get a whole month a year, plus bank holidays.

      Like many things in america, there are published 'minimums' in many states, but that doesn't mean that the companies can't offer more if they choose to do so.
    • by PCM2 (4486) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @06:55PM (#15186972) Homepage
      No joke. The holiday situation in the U.S. is deplorable compared to the rest of the so-called Western World. If you worked at a low-paying job, like a fast food franchise, you might be lucky to get those 80 hours.

      A lot of Europeans complain that Americans are sheltered and don't know anything about the rest of the world. And why should we? We're hard pressed to find any time to travel. If you travel for just one week out of an entire year, that leaves you with just five available vacation days to plan for friends' weddings, a visit from family, a camping trip, etc.

      Most of us burn our sick days for short-term time off like that, but that's hardly a good solution. Oh wait -- you have heard about the American healthcare system, haven't you?

      Companies in the U.S. are fond of management philosophies that emphasize effective "human capital management." Say that ten times fast. Sounds a lot like "human cattle management," doesn't it? Coincidence?

  • great (Score:2, Interesting)

    by drgroove (631550)
    now my boss can site statistical analysis in his list of reasons as to why I should work more overtime.

    thanks a lot, guys.
  • I can say that what this guy found is completely reasonable. I commute from central Los Angeles to Malibu, and if I leave for work at 8am, and leave work at 5pm, it takes me about 50 minutes each way. If I leave an hour later, I can shave 10 minutes off both ways on average, and an hour after that, I can cut it down to 35 minutes each way.

    However, I'm lucky in that my job has very flexible hours. If I wanted to, I could go in at noon and leave at 9pm. MOST people do not have such a liberty, either becaus
  • Choose wisely... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gansch (939712)
    Where you live and work is a choice, and I don't want to have to listen to anyone complain about a situation that is his or her own fault. If you don't like the commute, live closer to work or use alternative forms of transportation. Personally, I choose a long commute to live where I play and commute about 45 min to work, but I made an informed decision (taking into account traffic, my schedule, etc.) before committing myself to both locations. If you can minimize your commute, great; if not, do not com
    • by KingSkippus (799657) *

      Unfortunately, there usually isn't a choice, and no, it's not a situation that is always one's own fault.

      Traffic patterns change. Where I live now, in five short years, places that weren't congested before are now locked up tight every single workday. Am I supposed to move every five years? Also, some of us kind of like the idea of being able to someday pay off our house, but we work in an idustry where people shuffle around every six months to a year. (Thank you, outsourcing!) If I moved every time

    • by HairyCanary (688865)
      So easy to say.

      I bought a house 10 minutes away from where I work. A year and a half later, the company decided to relocate their headquarters to a location that is 25 minutes farther away. It is not really practical to change where you live based on where you are working at any given moment, unless you are renting. And even then...

  • It's not that leaving early is necessarily worse; it's that leaving at the same time as everyone else is definitely worse. This greatly depends on individual circumstances. When I used to work at Sandia National Labs, for example, some people would come in to work after everyone else had left, since you are usually allowed to work whenever you want. As a result, they avoided absolutely all other traffic, and got to park right up front (which is a big deal when the parking lots are the size of football field
  • by porky_pig_jr (129948) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @07:06PM (#15187020)
    I have a funny recollection about one programmer I've worked with. He's just got hired. He asked to allow him to arrive to work *really* early so to beat the traffic, and got ok. So he was coming to work around 7 am. The rest of the bunch was showing up sometime between 9 and 10. From 7 to 9 am the guy was practically doing nothing, and I mean nothing: reading newspapers and playing Solitair on PC (that was the time before the company got connected to Internet). Of course he was always promptly leaving at 3 pm. So not only he's managed to beat the traffic but had about 2 hours at work doing nothing. He was so successful in that that eventually he became a consultant (in the same company). No kidding.
  • cycling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wall0159 (881759) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @07:10PM (#15187034)
    the *real* solution is not to drive at all. I know this will make me sound like an unpatriotic communist, but (disclaimer - I live in a relatively small Australian city of about 1 million poeple) I can definitely commute much faster in rush hour traffic than I can in a car. I get to work in about 1/2 the time of driving, and about 1/3 the time of public transport. Cycling's very cheap, and it turns an otherwise stressful time into a pleasant experience. And it gives exercise!! What a deal!! :-)

    The other plus, is that finding parking for a bicycle is always easy. No more hunting/paying for car parking. My fiance and I both cycle, and this means that we only run one car. A big economic saving. I highly recommend it.
    • Re:cycling (Score:3, Informative)

      by Woldry (928749)
      I'm not familiar with Australian weather, but here in northeast Ohio, snow and ice and the like make cycling problematic at best for several months out of the year; "impossible" is probably closer to the truth.

      Much of the spring and fall, frequent rain is likewise a problem; I'm told (though I haven't counted 'em myself) that we have fewer sunny days annually here than Seattle. I don't have a problem getting wet, but we have no shower or locker room facilities where I work, and a poncho/raincoat/whateve
  • If you live in a city with a significant traffice problem, you'll note a couple things:

    1) Where you live has a huge influence - if you live on one side of the river or the other, the bridge may be the limiting factor

    2) The time of year makes a big difference and has a huge impact on traffic - during the summer, you can leave later, but during the school year, you have to beat the school buses, because they determine when parents leave for work (mom/dad can't leave until the bus picks up the kids)

    3) Traffic
  • Try for high tech workers living in Seattle. The commute to Redmond or Bellevue is horrible.

    Varies from 45 minutes to 2 hours. 15 minutes difference in start time makes a HUGE difference in how long it takes to get there.

    What really sucks is that this summer I have an internship at Boeing lined up, for their Everett plant.

    That is a 90 minute or so commute each way. 3 hours a day, bleck.

    And this guy complains about his 20 some minute commute! Sounds lovely to me!
  • by wk633 (442820) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @07:17PM (#15187063)
    is the wind and my warmup. I usually have a headwind in the morning, and I'm not warmed up, so it takes about 28-30 min. A good tailwind on the way home and I can make the nine miles in under 26.
  • I get off work at 4, which is about the time the commuter rail starts ramping up for rush hour. When I've left work early, I usually end up waiting between 10 to 15 minutes for the train. After 4, one comes every 4 or 5 minutes.
  • I was agreeing with the author of the article, and thinking it was pretty interesting, until I got to the part at the end advocating mass transit.

    Efficient mass transit, unfortunately, requires that we all work in a dense downtown area where a critical mass of people shows up. I don't think that's true of most of Houston. Mass transit is also unpleasant to use and generally very slow. Despite billions being thrown at it, mass transit still has an average market share of around 3%. More and bigger roads,
  • First post
  • by bgfay (5362) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @07:34PM (#15187117) Homepage
    I'm a teacher in a high school, so this is different for others I'm sure. Still, I find that arriving early is often just as time-consuming. I get there early and so I don't HAVE to get right to work, so instead, I fool around online, look at the important stuff on /. and otherwise keep myself from getting started. If I show up with a lot less time on my hands, I frantically dive into work. Of course, I might just be weird...
  • by icepick72 (834363) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @08:15PM (#15187267)
    Maybe a 38% boost in vacation time by saving several minutes a day commuting but try to feel the effect of your extra five six minutes a day. It's too short and gets lost in the day. You're going to cause youself more frustration fretting over your six min./day savings especially if the statistics start shifing, which of course will cause you stress and health problems and you'll die that much sooner. Forget about it. Instead start thinking about REAL vacation time. E.g. How can I get an extra week of minutes successfully off this year ...
  • by ByTor-2112 (313205) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @08:30PM (#15187317)
    Not much of a nerd if that didn't ring a thousand bells as it was written. That figure is flat out impossible. Daily gasoline consumption in the USA is estimated at almost 9 million barrels, far less than 800 million gallons.
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @09:17PM (#15187454) Journal
    Sure boss, we're doing the same amount of hours, we're just coming in 2 hours late and leaving 2 hours later than we normally do. What I'm fired?
  • Traffic lights (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mike Hicks (244) * <hick0088@tc.umn.edu> on Sunday April 23, 2006 @09:20PM (#15187460) Homepage Journal
    The timing of traffic lights has been one of the biggest factors for me, though that's mostly been since I live near downtown and have commuted out to suburbs/exurbs for work for the last few years. Highway congestion usually wasn't a big factor since I was generally traveling out in the opposite direction of most folks, but traffic lights could easily destroy any headway I had. Their cycles are hard to pin down, and shift of just a few minutes in departure time can mean you're stuck at nearly every light rather than seeing green. But maybe my normal departure times have led me to visit intersections just before or after the point where they switch from "rush hour" mode to "normal" mode. Of course, traffic lights in some areas are biased to allow more traffic inbound to downtown areas, which makes sense, though it effectively penalizes people like me who commute outbound.

    Fortunately, I now work at a place that is only about 3.5 miles from where I live, and I can get doorstop-to-doorstop in just over ten minutes and only deal with one traffic light. I'm moving soon, and my commute will be even shorter.
  • by john_uy (187459) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:00PM (#15187573)
    if most people will leave outside of the rush hour, then i guess, they will all be stuck in the same type of rush hour traffic and this will no longer be true.

    maybe there should be a way where offices are opened and closed gradually. maybe like schools be open at 7, government offices at 7:30, manufacturing at 8:00, others at 8:30. (i am not sure about the volume of traffic for each segment but you get the idea.) closing time will be graduated too. i guess the problem is with the peak loads. distribute the surge and it will be better for everyone.

    employers should try to consider telecommuting as much as possible in this case.
  • by MaxPowerDJ (888947) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:06PM (#15187595) Journal
    I live 25 minutes away from work. During rush hour, that number goes up to an hour 30 (anyone asking, this is the dreaded commute from Caguas, PR to San Juan, PR). What I do to beat the traffic is that I wake up at 3:30. I usually leave my house around 4, 4:15(at 5am, there's already transit going to San Juan). I get to my office at 15 minutes to 5am. I get the best parking spot(no parking in the building), plus I get around two and a half hours of sleep in my car before getting to the office (>3 min walk). I start my day relaxed at 8am after a nice breakfast, and I am very productive during the day.

    When I go back home, I usually bite the bullet and take the hour long (hopefully) trip back home. I have a lot of advantage over the other drivers because I only go through rush hour once. They have these desperate faces, and I am just relaxed with my iPod-iTrip combo, listening to some tunes while I get home.
  • Impossible (Score:3, Insightful)

    by asifyoucare (302582) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:41PM (#15187698)
    This cannot be right.

    Imagine that one car leaves his house at the earlier time and gets to work at 08:20. Imagine that another car leaves his house a bit later, goes via the same route, and gets to work at 08:15. I have not RTFA, but I assume that this is what he is saying?

    At some point the second car must catch the first car and then go faster than the original car for the rest of the journey.

    I will admit that it might be possible for the later car to catch the first car under certain conditions - though I am doubtful that this could occur in except in extreme circumstances. However, what possible reason can there be for believing that the second car will go faster than the first after catching it?
  • by gorehog (534288) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @10:47PM (#15187717)
    I could never figure out how I could leave for work 10 minutes earlier and still get there at the same damn time. I knew traffic patterns were killing my commute time.
  • by sinewalker (686056) on Sunday April 23, 2006 @11:33PM (#15187862) Homepage
    I commute by train (when not telecomuting, that is). It's a 1.5 hour trip in each direction. It would be 45-50 minutes to drive it. In my busy life with a new family, this actually gains me time for reading a book, or watching a DVD, or even (if I'm extremely bored) catching up on email! I would not get this at home, trust me! Here's some quick math: 3 hours per day, 5 days a week for 50 weeks = 750 hours all to myself (about a month - 31.25 days per anum)! Even if I had to work for half of that time while I commute, it's still an extra 2 weeks every year, for reading a good book. I highly recommend it for people who would otherwise not get a spare hour or two to themselves. That is, if trains or other public transport which you do not have to drive are an option to you.
  • by neile (139369) on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:05AM (#15187942)
    I carpool to and from work about 20 miles each way. Interestingly, my non-scientific observation of our commute times and what affects it matches pretty closely with the linked article:

    1) Friday mornings are usually pretty smooth. Mondays are often smooth too.
    2) Evenings are always terrible. It doesn't matter the day of the week, they're just consistently awful.
    3) Days/weeks without school are lighter.
    4) Leaving at 8:40 gives a pretty consistent 30 minute commute. Leaving an hour earlier guarantees bad traffic.

    The author did miss one key point though, which I call the Nielson Law of Traffic Dynamics (named for my carpool buddy who discovered it):

    Traffic on the evening of October 31st is unquestionably always the worst traffic of the year, every year.

    Every year we forget about this law, and every year we curse the thousands of parents who *have* *to* *be* *home* *before* *sunset*.

    Neil
  • by Shimmer (3036) <brianberns@gmail.com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:12AM (#15187963) Homepage Journal
    With your family, that is.

    The primary goal isn't to minimize the time spent driving (though that would be nice). The goal is to maximize time with your friends, family, hobby, etc. Staying late to avoid rush hour is pointless if you have somewhere you want to get to.
    • The goal is to maximize time with your friends, family, hobby, etc. Staying late to avoid rush hour is pointless if you have somewhere you want to get to.

      Amen. Winning the traffic game is silly if the only one benefitting from it is your employer.
    • Time shifting (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AlpineR (32307)
      Leaving late costs you time at home only if you fail to adjust your arrival time. You could, you know, leave an hour later (for a shorter commute) and also arrive an hour later (probably also shorter). That would mean you could wake up an hour later and therefore stay awake an hour later spending quality time with your family, friends, or hobbies.

      I think the point of the article is that you can use your time more efficiently if you pay attention to how your commute duration correlates with departure tim

  • by Coeurderoy (717228) on Monday April 24, 2006 @02:51AM (#15188317)
    I found the article rather interesting, and it is probably interesting as a hint for a city planner.
    Not personally really relevant, but generally interesting, but what made me laught was the conclusion at the end.
    30% increase in hollydays ? hum, even ignoring the fact that 7minutes in the evening is not the same as 7minutes on the beach during a hollyday, reality hit home when I read that it is 30hours in addition to the 80hours of "normal hollydays", that is 10 days ?

    In continental europe the normal number of hollydays for IT people is at least 25 days, and typically 30 .. 35 days.
    Therefore the result is not only that since there are less work days the 30 hours gain would be about 10% lower, but it would have to be compared to a much higher number of hours.

    In europe (where the typical worker productivity is higher than in the US) the news would be:
    By careful planning of your commute hours you can gain about 10% of additional "free time minutes", wich would of course be a great conversation piece in front of the coffe machine.

    ---------
    Work less, work smarter
  • by sparkz (146432) on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:07AM (#15188349) Homepage
    15,000 miles in 100 hours - that's an average speed of 150mph in his commute
  • by ACORN_USER (902686) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:14AM (#15188675)
    I usually have a commute of up to 2 hours each way. A quarter of my commute is on a railway line which runs through our remote little village [1]. The railway company does not really seem to give a wham about our little stop and the trains are regularly delayed, cancelled or lost. On top of this I am usually hopeless at getting out of bed in the morning and pull my hair out trying to get to work. I usually get to do some work on my iBook during these train journeys, but obviously no one praises me for this extra effort since there is no way to measure or recognise the dedicated service being rendered as I struggle to get in on time. Obviously, by the time I reach our office and see a room full of ties, I'm quite depressed and have lost my will to live. I often work late, but such a depressing start to the day often robs my after hours coding glory of the drive which I remember as a younger man ( two years ago ).

    Now the interesting thing, which I have noticed is that when I throw the usual routine on its head and add some mutation to my search, everything works completely differently. You wake up at an insane hour of the morning and drink coffee. You then get on one of the first few trains to depart, these are invariably on time; I suppose the train drivers responsible enough to get up early are the most competent and the least likely to end up in Scotland by accident. This train is empty and free of smelly arm-pits. It is also fast and direct, requiring no further changes. Why this is not the case with the later trains, is beyond me.

    The general spirit at this time of the morning, is one of champions. "I woke up before the world, therefore I am a man of power, ambition and lots of loud alarm clocks." You then stroll at leisure from station to work place with a trendy coffee in hand. The work done on the train is then casually uploaded onto workstation and you continue on a roll, glancing at those lazy sods strolling in at 9am. Your spirits are on top of the world. Come mid-afternoon, you're tired, but you've been there since the early hours. If you can't cope you can responsibly excuse yourself due to hard work and head home, stating that your work will be continued on the train. This is then valued, given that the announcement is made up front.

    Somehow leaving early gives you a buzz. One should be warned, however, that insanely early starts for more than two days in a row can be hazardous to your health and lead to death by foolishly strolling in front of an old granny's very slow push bike.

    [1]( George Michael lives there, and obviously never takes the train. )

  • by Lispy (136512) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:46AM (#15188759) Homepage
    I know this wont work for large distances (20km+) but I just got a bike this week and I drive ~10km a day with it to work and home.
    In a green city like mine (Munich, Germany) it does not only make driving to work fun, its healty, I am just as fast as with a car in a urabn environment and since I own a smart roadster [smart.com] it doesnt make much difference on what I can carry with me. ;)

    An additional plus: you can take shortcuts through parks and industrial sites where no car can get through wich cuts the distance even further.
  • Astronomical Commute (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SEWilco (27983) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:51PM (#15191742) Journal
    He neglected to include astronomical factors. At some times of the year he may be experiencing sunrise and sunset slowdowns, as drivers slow due to glare from the sun being directly in front of them. The spring period when he noticed a slowdown in the evening could be due to driving nearly directly west (he did not describe his route, but his house is to the northwest). My guess is that on his drive home he uses the major road toward the west which has a few curves in it, with drivers being bothered by the sun just after each curve.

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