Friday, January 12, 2007

A commuting fantasy

Yesterday, I had occasion to drive to the airport and back. That's at least a 40-mile trip each way. With local traffic, the trip can take quite a while, no matter what time of day (except, perhaps, around 3-4 in the morning).

Two nights ago, though, we had a snowstorm that wreaked havoc with the evening commute, and we were being told yesterday that we should stay home unless we had to venture out. People seemed to listen, traffic was light, and driving to the airport, even with occasional slick spots in the roadway, was a dream. It was if we had turned the clock back 20 years as far as traffic goes.

As someone who does most of his work remotely, using phone, email, Web conferencing, and the like, I had a fantasy. What if people really didn't need to drive to work each and every day? What if we could keep the roads available for the times we really need them? We wouldn't have to spend as much on roads. Companies wouldn't have to spend as much on office buildings. We wouldn't have to spend as much on fuel. We wouldn't have to spend as much on cars. We wouldn't emit as much in the way of greenhouse gases. When we did drive, we'd have a more pleasant experience. When we didn't drive, we'd have more time for family, friends, and leisure. We'd injure or kill fewer people on the roads.

Could we do it? Really?

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