What is Commuting Time’s Value?

day off to a bad startLife in the suburbs isn’t always as rosy as it’s made out to be.

For example, how valuable is the time you spend every day commuting to work?

Turns out, it’s worth a lot. Let’s say you’re making a somewhat normal salary, around $55,000 a year, then reducing your daily driving commute can be valued as getting a $40,000 raise – by just removing the hourlong, each way, commute from your life.

This is one of the things Dan Buettner found when researching the keys to happiness for his book, “Thrive.” He’s a National Geographic Fellow who spent five years investigating the shared characteristics accounting for happiness in places like Denmark, Singapore, Mexico, and California. It wasn’t wealth, beauty, youth, or intelligence that made the happiest groups happy. What Buettner found was that a better quality of life had a bigger impact on people’s happiness.

The number one and two hated daily activities for Americans were housework and commuting. By moving closer to work and cutting out two hours a day of commuting in a car, an American would feel like the recipient of a $40,000 raise in terms of happiness.

I wonder what the value of being able to walk to work is?