What do you get when 2.9 million workers spend 79 minutes a day on average commuting in the Greater Toronto Area? Over three million wasted hours per day. As someone who does a day of 2-3 hours in-car at least once a week, these numbers have been pressing on my mind like a throbbing forehead vein. Being stuck in a traffic jam is bad enough, but once you start considering the cost (thousands of people, burning gas, in expensive cars on a roadway that probably cost hundreds of mllions) it just gets enraging.

The amount of time GTA workers spend driving is roughly equal to a little over an eighth of the time they spend working, or a half-million full-time jobs. And not only are workers not getting paid for it, but the costs of commuting can easily eat up a good chunk of your wages. As one commuter quoted by the Star puts it”Half my pay goes to commuting costs.”

There’s no quick fix for this, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to start acting immediately. The cost in human, economic and environmental terms is simply too high. We need to rethink the basic premise of how, where and why we work, because this model isn’t working. Highways, suburbs, car factories and suburban office parks all get build largely based on the argument that they “create jobs”, But jobs aren’t an end in and of themselves. They’re a means to feeding, clothing and housing workers and their families – or they’re supposed to be.

Numbers taken from:
Commute’s True Cost is Family Time Toronto Star
Greater Toronto Area Wkipedia