Skip to main content

Reverse Commuting

I've never really "reverse commuted", but I know a number of people who do. On one hand, it's a major sign of urban strength and desirability. I think it really says something that there are people who to live it cities, even though it means a commute out into the suburbs. On the other hand, it demonstrates the unfortunate reality that so many white-collar jobs are now located outside of the urban core, even as people flock to it.

(from stevelyon on Flickr)

A lot of people who reverse commute will justify it by saying that reverse commuting is easier than regular commuting. Traffic isn't quite as heavy when you're going against the flow, and I don't doubt that to be true. But it misses the point that commuting would be really easy for the same people if their jobs were also in the city.

I was having a conversation with a friend of the blog recently, and he said the "greenest" commute that a white-collar worker can have is no commute at all - in other words, to telework. Taken to its logical end, his argument is true, but teleworking has issues of its own. After all, if teleworking were so great, why do companies continue renewing their commercial leases?

To me, the "greenest" form of commuting for white-collar workers is for everyone to live close enough to their jobs that they can walk. In any case, the only way this could possibly be accomplished is by designing cities and neighborhoods so that every neighborhood has a mix of uses. We can't turn back the clock on development, and as long as our metros have "places to work" and "places to live" and segregated zoning throughout, there will always be commuters, whichever direction they're going.


B. P. Beckley said…
In any case, the only way this could possibly be accomplished is by designing cities and neighborhoods so that every neighborhood has a mix of uses.

But then you're assuming that if you change jobs, you move, and moving is painful bordering on traumatic for most people. I think the "greenest" arrangement that actually takes that into account is still going to be some variation on the CBD idea -- you want most of the jobs to be in a limited number of geographical areas, so that it's actually practical to build the transportation infrastructure to get everyone there.

Popular posts from this blog

In Praise of Southwest's 'C' Boarding Group

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from someone complaining that their Southwest Airlines boarding pass had been assigned A20 (meaning they would be at least one of the first twenty passengers to board the plane). Apparently this person though they should have been assigned a higher number, less their flight experience be considerably spoiled.

Despite the complaints, Southwest has resisted demands to assign seats on its flights, a decision which I personally applaud. I'll admit that I was skeptical when they rolled out the newest boarding procedure, assigning both boarding groups and a line number; but in hindsight it seems like one of the best operational decisions they've ever made. If nothing else, it effectively eliminated the infamous "cattle call" whereby fliers were getting to airports hours in advance and sitting in line on the floor as if they were waiting for the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie.

When I was an intern at Southwest Airlines last winter, I…

So You Want to be a Southwest Airlines Intern?

My personal website must have pretty decent SEO - because in the past year, I've received about two dozen emails from aspiring Southwest Airlines interns looking to draw on my experience in search of their own dream internship. In the past two weeks alone a few new emails have already started rolling in...

(from flickr user San Diego Shooter)

If you've found your way here, you might be hoping for the silver bullet; a secret tip that will propel you above the competition. Unfortunately, I do not know any inside secrets. I can only share my experience as an internship candidate about two years ago and, rather than responding individually to future emails I anticipate to receive, I hope that potential interns will find the information posted here valuable.

Understand: Southwest Airlines is a very unique company. The corporate culture at Southwest is truly unlike that of nearly every other company. But you probably already knew that, since it now seems mandatory for every management,…

Commuting Meets Technology

I'm finally out of the dark ages. I got an Android smartphone over the weekend and have since been in the process of exploring the Android apps market.  One thing I've immediately noticed is the really wide range of usefulness in the apps. For example, the WeatherBug app is fantastic. It automatically determines your location and gives you exact conditions for that location. On the other end of the spectrum, Google's Goggles app is supposed to be a type of 'visual search' where you snap of photo of something and Google searches for it. In each of my attempts to use it, the app hasn't returned any search results. I even took a photo of a bottle of Pepsi (figuring it as a common houseful item) and got nothing.

Somewhere in the middle is this app called Waze. Have a look at their 'guided tour':

Some people might look at it and comment on the amazing evolution of technology or on the incredible value of social networks. To me, Waze says something important ab…