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The Cost of Commuting

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By David Perera April 10, 2007

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This week’s The New Yorker investigates the phenomenon of commuting, nominating Washington as a “worthy candidate” for one for the country’s worst commutes. (Article not yet available online.)

The article, “There And Back Again,” reserves the worst commuting honors for Atlanta and analyzes the experience of commuting in general. Simply put, commuting is overrated. People “tend to over valuate the material fruits of their commute â€" money, house prestige â€" and undervalue what they’re giving up: sleep, exercise, fun,” author Nick Paumgarten states.

According to political scientist Robert Putnam, whom Paumgarten quotes, there’s a simple rule of thumb for commuting: “‘Every ten minutes of commuting results in 10 percent fewer social connections. Commuting is connected to social isolation, which causes unhappiness.’”

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