How long is your daily commute? A half-hour? An hour? More? The longer your commute–especially if it’s gotten longer recently–the better, according to a new study.
INRIX, a data company, says that the average commute has increased 9 percent nationwide over the last year, the second largest increase it’s seen in recent years. In its INRIX Gridlock Index (IGI) study, the organization says that longer waits in traffic can actually be a sign of a recovering economy.
With more people going to jobs, heading shopping, or driving to leisure activities, the IGI has looked at regions where commute times are increasing and weighed them against returning economic prosperity. The Midwest probably fell the furthest in the recession, but it’s also jumped the most rapidly, with commutes increasing about 15 percent in just the last few months. Meanwhile, the South’s traffic times have barely picked up. It should be noted that cities are more widespread down south, and the cocktail of many people living in a geographically small region might not be there.
Some of the bigger cities that showed negative growth were Baton Rouge (-38 percent), Oklahoma City (-32 percent), Louisville (-26 percent), and New Orleans (-21 percent). Consequently, they may not be doing too hot right now.
The IGI weighed traffic times against uncongested flow of traffic, measuring traffic speeds in 15-minute intervals. Specifically, it focuses in on 40 peak hours of the work week, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
What this means to you: If your commute has gotten worse, smile. Thank the person in the car next to you. Wave. Be happy. That person has a job; so do you. Even though you now have to leave your domicile 15 minutes earlier, the commute means that your property will be worth more because more people are over where you are.
And if you’re in a place that had particularly bad traffic, and now it’s worse, ignore everything we just recommended.