Office Commuting Guide – Getting Where You Need To Go
Article brought to you by: Phillip Donaldson
Every day a vast majority of the people living in the U.S. get in their cars to begin their daily commute. Often the ride is a stressful one, filled with congested roads and stops to fill up the tank with overpriced gas. Commuting to work or school on a daily basis also has a negative impact on the environment as cars release harmful pollutants into the air that people breathe. This can cause health problems and it contributes to environmental changes such as global warming. Although attending school and work isn't something that people can forego, there are ways to eliminate or reduce the commute. Alternative transportation methods stop people from driving alone in their cars and gives them options that are often less stressful and less expensive. Both students and people who commute to work can benefit from exploring and utilizing alternate transportation methods.
For some people, pulling out the bicycles isn't just for the occasional weekend. Instead it is an alternative daily commute option, in which the car stays in the garage. There are ups and downs to consider before heading out the door and hitting the street, however. Positive aspects of riding one's bike to work are primarily associated with health and physical fitness. Bicycling is a great aerobic exercise that can buildup one's endurance, strengthen the heart, and help lose weight. People who bicycle to work don't worry about gym memberships and can enjoy the outdoors. At the end of a busy day it is also a great way to wind down and alleviate stress. In addition to the health benefits, commuters who use their bikes help to reduce air pollution since biking releases no pollution into the atmosphere. The financial benefits include saving money at the pump as well as reducing the wear and tear on one's car, thereby reducing any maintenance that a commuter vehicle would require.
As obvious as the positive aspects of commuting via bicycle are, the negative ones are equally obvious. People who are out of shape or who do not regularly exercise should consult with their physician first. Bicycling can also be a problem during severe weather conditions such as rain, snow or high heat. For people who live a significant distance from their place of employment, bicycling may not be an option.
Carpooling involves two or more people riding together to the same, or a nearby, destination using a single vehicle. Driving may be assigned so that each member of the carpool must drive according to a schedule, or one person may be the sole driver. In the case of the latter, the driver will typically accept money from passengers to help offset the cost of gas and maintenance. The benefits of carpooling as a means to commute to work or school is that there are fewer vehicles on the road, which causes less pollution. For people who are not assigned to drive, it puts less wear and tear on their cars and helps save them money on gas. Carpooling helps alleviate boredom as there are others in the car to talk to. It can also make the commute faster as "carpool lanes" are typically available for vehicles with two or more passengers inside. The cons of carpooling are minimal. One of the potential downsides of this alternate commute method is being stuck with someone who is annoying, difficult to get along with, or chronically tardy. In addition, making the arrangements for the carpool can be stressful and time-consuming. For drivers there is the additional concern of being sued in the event of an accident. Another disadvantage that must be considered prior to forming or joining a carpool is what happens in the event of an emergency. If the driver is ill or if a passenger needs to leave from work early, he or she will not have a ride.
Public transportation can take many forms, such as the bus, light rail or commuter train. Disadvantages of using public transportation for one's daily commute includes the increased risk of illness such as colds due to the closed-in environment and close proximity to fellow travelers. Although public transportation runs on a schedule, it may at times run late or early, increasing one's risk of missing the bus or train. Certain types of public transportation, such as the bus, may not be in service if working into the evening or at odd hours. Overcrowding is also a problem. When there are a large number of people, passengers may need to stand. An overcrowded train or bus also increases the risk of crimes such as theft. Riding public transportation often creates a longer commute to work or school and can cause tardiness as a result. On the positive side, public transportation relieves the commuter from the burden of driving. It takes more vehicles off the road, freeing up congestion and reduces carbon emissions. People who take public transportation save money in terms of gas and the cost of maintaining their car.
Walking, like bicycling, is an active form of transportation that under certain circumstances works well as an alternative method of commuting to work. Ideally, a person should work within walking distance from his or her home in order for this to be a feasible alternative. The benefits to walking are health and fitness related. When walking to work or school, one's commute has turned into his or her exercise. Another positive aspect of walking is that no pollution is released into the air and a person can spend this time to relax, listen to music or simply take in his or her surroundings. With the exception of buying a good pair of walking shoes, there is no expense associated with walking as opposed to the money that would be spent at the gas pump. The negative aspects associated with walking is that depending on how far a person walks, he or she may be overly sweaty upon arriving at work. A person may not be able to walk if the weather is bad or if the weather changes during the day a person may be faced with walking home in severe rain, wind, snow or excessive heat. Although it is a great way to lose weight, it can be overwhelming for a person who is unaccustomed to walking for any length of time.