Imagine you could teleport to work. Just a snap of the fingers, and you would instantly be sitting at your desk. Would you do it?
Since 2001, a handful of researchers have been posing this whimsical question to commuters all over the world. Many travelers (though fewer than you might expect) answered “yes” to teleportation at first, but started to change their minds as the interview went on. Considering the possibility of a zero minute commute, travelers have to confront the balance of pros and cons in their journey.
Here’s the thing: commuting takes time, but it can actually be time well spent. In reality, Scotty isn’t going to beam us up to work anytime soon. But when you use options like the bus, bike, or carpooling, you get to reclaim your commute and make the journey worth the time.
Some respondents said that teleporting would mean they never stepped foot outside, and that was what they valued most about the trip. If you incorporate some biking or walking into your commute – even just to the bus stop – you get a chance for fresh air, exercise, and peaceful time with your thoughts (or your favorite playlist). With a human-fueled commute, you encounter people or places you would normally whiz by.
Others noted that their commute was a time to prepare for the day. On a bus or train, you can sit down with your tablet or notepad and put together your to-do list, catch up on emails, or maybe skim through your Twitter feed as people are gripping their steering wheels in the traffic outside your window. Your transit companions, on the other hand, will be quietly enjoying their own time – reading, listening to music, or taking a nap.
Think about your own commute – Do you dread it, look forward to it, or somewhere in between? What aspects of your commute do you like and dislike?
If you’re a frustrated commuter driving alone, what would you rather do with your time? Tell us in the comments what commute time well-spent means to you.