Thus far, I have spent approximately 90 minutes in traffic every day of the last three days – don’t blame me for whining, I am used to driving against the general flow of traffic until this past Monday.
As there are approximately 240 work days in a year, my projection for the next 12 months, if I do nothing besides experiment with new routes and rely on the duo of Google/Waze and the kind people at 94.7 FM’s Breakfast Xpress show, is: 15 24 hour days or 45 work days in traffic.
In my family, there are two working adults with approximately the same travel time and experience. This translates to 90 work days a year, up in the smoke.
Let’s estimate there are 10,000 other people like me. That will be 450, 000 work days, unaccounted for every year.
Not able to mind my business, I started to think: definitely, traffic is expensive. But who picks up the bill?
Looking at my surroundings as frequently as possible , I observed that:
- the majority of vehicles traveling along the same route and in the opposite direction are personal vehicles (sedans, SUVs and hatch backs)
- the majority of them have 1 or two occupants (leaving 2-3 empty seats, and in the case of 7 seater SUVs, 4-6 empty seats)
- I travelled for most of the route (at least today) with similar cars next to me and directly behind me (it can be inferred that we are coming from and going to locations not far flung)
- nearly 600 (I was told by colleagues that I am overly conservative with that number and was advised to up it to 2000) cars are parked in the basement parking lot in the office building I work from
I am thinking:
- is congestion on the roads during rush hour traffic a serious problem or an imagined one (I really don’t know. But I know a lot of people live in fear of the 3rd Mainland bridge in Lagos for some reason and I am writing this for some reason as well)
- if there is such thing as congestion during rush hour and I am not in some nightmarish slumber, then is there a solution?
- who pays for the congestions?
- who benefits from it? (I have been thinking, what can I sell in rush hour traffic? if I am in it for that long, everyday, why not benefit from it?)
- is ride-sharing between neighbors and colleagues a good idea?
- how about an effective public transportation system that picks and delivers people within a 3 minute walking distance of their destinations (this should in addition to easing congestion on the roads, free up car park spaces in business districts – an opportunity for creating more office spaces?)
- telecommuting, anybody? (people who love meetings will scream at me for even thinking about telecommuting – how will they get their daily fix of meetings?)
Well, there has to be be something I can do. I can at least, wake up from this slumber.
*Cover photo: Shamelessly copied from the Jo’burg Traffic Department’s website