Taking Back Your Time

If you’re a transportation geek like some of us at Movability Austin, you may find the BBC’s Caesium: A brief history of timekeeping as fascinating as we did.

Screen shot 2014-10-13 at 11.24.35 AMCome to find out, transportation has pushed every innovation in the precision of timekeeping: scheduling complicated train schedules led to the development of time zones, the definition of a second, and quartz time pieces. Today digital data in transportation is producing more advanced clocks, which in turn allows for more accurate time stamping for financial transactions and helps satellites coordinate and provide accurate GPS coordinates.

But transportation is also pushing another entirely new innovation in time and this one isn’t about accuracy of time keeping. It is about your time. Many of us are increasingly over-scheduled and time-pressured. We wake up to alarms clocks. We watch clocks as we rush to shower and get dressed, and maybe get kids dressed. We schedule time to travel to work or school so we aren’t “late.” And so on, through out most of our day.

Modern transportation is giving you more options and that is actually impacting your time in small and big ways. To see this clearly, just look backwards to a decade ago. Most people only had one option for travel: get in the car and drive. Today, Austin has a dizzying array of travel options. Capital Metro provides rail, rapid buses, commuter buses, and local buses. Road design is changing to work equally well for cars, bikes, buses and pedestrians. There is bike sharing and car sharing like Car2Go and ZipCar. Sharing seats has never been easier for carpooling, vanpooling or for a fee with services like Uber and Lyft. We’re even seeing an increase of non-travel options for getting work done on flexible or compressed schedules, as well as telework. And this only scratches the surface.

The transition in transportation is leading to changes in road design and the way we interact on roadways. Just watch the streets downtown for a few minutes and you will see taxis, electric cabs, a variety of bikes, B-Cycles, cars, and many types of buses, shuttles, and vans, and of course many people walking.

But – and this is the bigger point – you also have the opportunity to gain more “you time.” With all of these travel options, you are becoming an “on demand” travel shopper because you have the opportunity to find and use options when you want them. This may cause “car separation anxiety” for some. For others it is a liberating freedom from always worrying about a car, the parking meter, a thief, or crashes. This freedom from the car also means you aren’t required to spend your time driving. Spending less time, money and frustration sitting still in traffic means more time to do the things you want to do.

The average Austinite spends 44 hours a year stuck in traffic. You will never get those hours and days back.

So ask yourself, how do I want to spend my time? Could I do more of what I want to do if I didn’t have to drive? More napping, more working, more reading, more creating?

Then check out the many options you may have to take back control of your time.


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