Yeah, Your Commute is Bad - But What's it Worth to You?

Chances are good that, if you commute by car, your commute has gotten significantly worse over the past decade. But how bad, exactly? And what would you be willing to trade to make it less painful?

Brightline, South Florida’s new modern intercity train service, asked just that question—and the answers may surprise you:

Five hundred commuters who took part in a recent Brightline survey about traffic congestion were quizzed about trading some of their favorite things — alcohol, watching Netflix and, um, sex — to avoid sitting in mind-numbing traffic.

The survey reported that 48 percent of passengers would ditch alcohol, 29 percent would abandon Netflix and 22 percent would go celibate “if it meant never having to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic again.”

Brightline, the express passenger train service that began operating in South Florida early last year, also found that 7 in 10 commuters said they’d consider packing up and moving to make their daily commute easier.

Of course, you shouldn’t have to move to avoid highway traffic—not when you can just bring rail transit to where you live. But most Americans don’t even know there’s a better way; they assume easy, productive commutes are for people rich enough to pay someone to drive them around. It’ll be up to advocates—like our members—to do the heavy lifting required to get a new train service up and running. Then, like with Brightline, these Americans will wonder how they ever got by without it.

Other highlights from the survey include how people would use the extra free time if their commutes were shorter:

  • 60% of people said they would spend more time with their family;
  • Over 50% of people said they would exercise or relax more;
  • Of the nine-in-ten people who drive to work, “44.3% said their commute makes them feel annoyed, while 35.9% say it makes them feel anxious.”

“The survey underscores our belief that transit congestion is so much bigger than sitting in I-95 gridlock traffic,” explained Ali Soule, Brightline’s director of public affairs and media relations. “It's about productivity and the precious minutes, even hours, that we are kept from the things that matter most.”

Brightline currently serves Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach with hourly service on weekdays. They’re currently building a connecting segment to Orlando, with plans under development for an additional connection to Tampa. Every new station will bring new converts, and more allies in the fight for a modern, efficient U.S. train network.