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Leaving Early May Cost You Time

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the time-for-a-telecommute dept.


markmcb writes "OmniNerd has an interesting traffic article demonstrating how leaving early for work may cost you time. Brandon Hansen uses a year's worth of data collected on his urban drive to and from work along with statistical analysis to show the effects of varying departure times and considering external factors like nearby school districts' schedules. In the end, a minor shift in his departure time results in saving driving hours equivalent to over a third of the vacation time given annually by his employer."

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well... (4, Funny)

hjf (703092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186861)

I do remote sysadmin so it takes me a few seconds to get from bed to where I work (about 40 centimeters). The problem is the time it takes for me to actually wake up.

Re:well... (4, Funny)

DynamiteNeon (623949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187142)

My situation is similar, though occasionally I get a little bit of congestion in the high traffic areas of the house.

Usually, that's resolved with a gentle kick to the butts of my two dogs to move out of the way.

Leaving Differently (5, Insightful)

foundme (897346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186863)

It doesn't really matter if you leave work earlier or later, as long as you leave slightly different from the rest of the pack, the road will most likely be empty.

However, your employer will always notice if you leave early, so the idea situation is to leave late.

Re:Leaving Differently (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186959)

The ideal time to leave is two minutes after your employer. They won't know whether you're working twenty minutes late or three hours late.

Re:Leaving Differently (4, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186986)

I usually wait longer than that, primarily because it has happened more than once that my car was following his out of the carpark, or we waited side-by-side at the next set of traffic lights.

Rule of 13 (3, Funny)

kybred (795293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186984)

When I worked for a large company, we used to joke about the Rule of 13.

The rule is that your work start time and end time should add up to 13.

Re:Rule of 13 (4, Funny)

scaryjohn (120394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187029)

I'd hate to be the guy who worked from 8:00 until 5:00 the next morning. But if I rolled in at 13:00, I wouldn't have to work at all... possibly get fired, I guess.

Re:Rule of 13 (2, Funny)

jZnat (793348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187058)

America doesn't use 24-hour clock time like Europe does you insensitive clod! ;P

Re:Rule of 13 (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187125)

So starting at 11am and finishing at 2pm was considered ok? Good job...

Re:Leaving Differently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186991)

Yep, I think that's the whole point.

I never had problems with morning traffic but evening traffic was hellacious, easily costing me an extra hour or two every day. So I started going in between 0930-1000 and leaving sometime between 1800 and 1900. No traffic then!

I work at home now though. I generally drive less than 500 miles a month now. ;) Which is all for the best considering gas is well above $3 now.

Re:Leaving Differently (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187047)

This is not true in most metro areas. Espically in large metro areas the size of Detroit, Chicago,NY or other huge city.

I tried big time to find the windows of opportunity to make it in to and out of detroit without sitting stopped for 30-60 minutes because some idiot creamed himself all over the 696.

I found there are several windows, in the morning, any time from 6:00am until 7:39am you MUST be past Novi and heading into detroit or you will be screwed and late to work by a minimum of 1/2 hour because of the above mentioned idiot. Leaving for home has some very strange windows of opportunity. at 4:00pm to 5:00pm you are as screwed as if you left at 5:00pm. BUT, 5:15-5:30 is a window that will give you a clear drive. after 5:30 it's a parking lot again until 6:15 and then 7:00pm-7:00am finally, construction completely thorws everything off and those guys at the State love to screw with traffic. HOV lanes usually will not work well because big time congestion will spill over into the HOV lanes (Detroit does not believe in HOV lanes, I'm waiting for Hummer and other vehicles that get less than 7mpg and less than 2 passenger lanes in the state)

Anyone with a simple logbook and about 30 days of driving the same route modifying departure times by 10 minutes each day will get the data they need.

When school is out, things change so re-run the data collection... same for construction that takes 1+ years.

It is not hard to get the data. But it is fun to give a smug wave to the ass that blew past you at 90mph about 20-30 minutes ago as you pass him stopped in traffic because you chosae the correct lane to stay in while he keeps switching lane to lane. (speeding get's you nothing in metro highway driving, anyone that pays attention knows this.)

The only real solution is to work for an employer that is not moronic and allows work times to be shifted and also allows Telecommuting. IT blows my mind how many managers are so low IQ that they can comprehend that shifting 1/2 your IT department's schedule by 1 hour will make a huge difference in morale and even gives the department an advantage in serving the rest of the company..

so... (1)

ribo-bailey (724061) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186864)

the answer is to just sit there and do nothing :D

unfortunately (5, Funny)

Quick Sick Nick (822060) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186865)

Unfortunately, he did not take into account the time it took to do this analysis, and now he has even less free time.

Title (0, Troll)

Doytch (950946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186866)

It'll cost you time if you live in the same city as TFA's author...

This is such a half baked study and conclusion that I wonder why the hell it's on /.

Re:Title (3, Funny)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186912)

This is such a half baked study and conclusion that I wonder why the hell it's on /.

You must be new here.

Re:Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15187035)

This is such a half baked study and conclusion that I wonder why the hell it's on /.

You must be new here.

So new they read TFA

Re:Pledge (2)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186969)

OK, let's all take the pledge:
1. I promise not to slam people who have done interesting work just to self-aggrandize.
2. Even if I disagree with the article I will not behave like a petulant 4th grader.
3. In pointing out errors, omissions or other faults I will not call anyone an idiot but will rather offer constructive criticism.
4. I will count to ten before posting anything

I expect there will be additions to this list, but it would really be nice if they were civil. A fella can dream....

Who would have thought (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186867)

That avoiding rush hour traffic could save you time? I appluad this excellent study, and I hope this team continues their fantastic work!

It's true! :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186871)

Look at me. I come in early to get coffee and leave late to avoid traffic. I'm a good worker, la-dee-da.

How early? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186872)

If you leave early enough, you are likely to avoid most traffic altogether. Therefore, you would save time. Also, if you arrive to work early and finish early, technically you can avoid all rush hour traffic, saving much more time. Or you could just within walking distance to work.

Don't care about the data... (1)

manavendra (688020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186875)

I'm sure this is a genuine detailed research, but anyone who's tried to get out of central London between 4 to 7 pm will tell you the madness that ensues as part of "traffic". god forbid if you have to drive - forget the dreaded congestion tax, the best you'd do is 5 to 8 miles an hour...

What really raises my blood pressure: (-1, Offtopic)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186877)

Seeing words like "raiseing" in the middle of an otherwise well thought out, referenced piece of writing.

I suppose that's to be expected from, "So good [sic] you'll punch your mom in the face."

1 simple spell check is not too high a price to pay.

Re:What really raises my blood pressure: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15187031)

1 simple spell check is not too high a price to pay.

When starting a sentence with a number, the number should be written as a word. Sorry, but things like that really raise my blood pressure.

By the way, do you remember that saying about living in glasshouses and throwing stones?

Re:What really raises my blood pressure: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15187068)

And of course, everyone knows that "mom" is really "mum".

AC - Helping the community with words since 1998

Re:What really raises my blood pressure: (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187131)

Want to know what raises my blood?

People who start sentences with the numerical form of numbers.

Get a motorbike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186878)

Geez, all that effort working out how much time can be shaved off the *drive* to work, when you can just ride a motorbike and get there in half the time.

Two wheels, the *only* way to commute.

I work from home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186981)

I don't think that the bike would fit up the stairs.

Re:Get a motorbike (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187118)

I think that in some cases, even the pedal-powered two wheelers would make better time. Will also keep you off the roads that tend to have the pile-ups anyway.

As for me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186882)

As for me, I walk to work, which saves me time on a treadmill inside some gym club.

Late April (4, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186883)

That is why I am leaving in late April.

What rush hour? (3, Informative)

Rurik (113882) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186884)

Wow, site is already slashdotted.

I work in IT, and a specialized form, around a metro area. Rush hour is typically from 8-10AM, and 3:30-6PM. I live 45 miles from my work, and have tried for years to find the best time. The best solution I found was getting up at 5, leaving by 5:30, and cutting my 1-hour commute to half an hour. And, it works great! I get in by 6:00AM, and have nearly two hours of quiet with a few coworkers before the loud masses come in with their whining and requests for help.

I just wish that coming in earlier meant leaving earlier.

Re:What rush hour? (2, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186910)

Where do you live that it is safe to drive 90 MPH even at 5:30 in the morning?

Re:What rush hour? (1)

utlemming (654269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187084)

How about the DC? Try the Betlway.

Re:What rush hour? (4, Interesting)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186915)

very good idea, I had a boss once who did that. Was in at work at 5AM and was going by 1. Most people admitted thought it was the commute but like you, he found the real value of just not having anyone else around for the first couple of hours. Invaluable for ones sanity.

Re:What rush hour? (1)

July 21, 2006 (968634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187122)

Then he was a shitty boss - if you're managing people then there are expected "business hours" that you should be available.

Re:What rush hour? (5, Interesting)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187015)

I just wish that coming in earlier meant leaving earlier.

That's the entire reason (sleepcycle not withstanding) that I prefer the "later" strategy. A co-worker of mine gets in early (because he gets up early due to his wife's work schedule) He constantly bemoans the fact that he doesn't get recognition for the extra time, and has to stay to normal end-of-work because no managers are there nearly so early.

As the "doctor" says... "well stop doing that then..."

I don't consider it a time savings if my employer is the sole benificiary... I'd rather spend a few hours doing things around the house and go in AFTER rush hour if I got up that early anyhow. That way my saved time is MINE.

The title of the article... (0, Troll)

kaiocool (834039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186885)

is completely misleading. Good job with marketing this article to me, Slashdot!

Dead link... here's a mirror (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186888)

No karma whoring link to the article. []

If I had my wish.. (0, Offtopic)

Mgns (934567) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186898)

this article would have been Slashdotted before I thouched TFA

not driving at all better (5, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186899)

i'm moving to a new job next month. one of the primary considerations i put into housing, was to be as close as possible to work. commuting sucks. we are moving into a smaller place but i figure i could get as much as an hour or two a day more in time with my family. (and the smaller housing is forcing us to get rid of a bunch of junk and simplify)
with the price of fuel and maintenance, and time with kids that wont be kids long, it was worth it to really make an effort.

Re:not driving at all better (4, Insightful)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187056)

My commute to work is about 30 minutes by bike (plus 5-10 minutes to change clothes) and 20 minutes by car. While I would love to live closer, I can't complain too much. One thing I really love about biking is that I don't have to put up with traffic. Thankfully, the way to and from work is fairly well covered by bike paths. I find driving very frustrating just due to small things like waiting at stop lights and stop signs and getting stuck behind another driver. My biking speed is so slow compared to my driving that the change in speeds for stop signs and lights doesn't feel as frustrating, and I'm never stuck behind anyone.

Doing the math... (5, Funny)

Rahga (13479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186904)

"... In the end, a minor shift in his departure time results in saving driving hours equivalent to over a third of the vacation time given annually by his employer."

In France, this means you would gain 2 additional months of free time. ;)

Missing the Point (3, Informative)

pen (7191) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186907)

It's not leaving later that saves you time, it's not driving when everyone else is driving. Not only does this ignore anyone who doesn't drive to work -- my subway commute is a lot faster during rush hour -- but it totally misses the point.

At a previous job, leaving 15 minutes early would save me 30 minutes of commute time, since I would get in before rush hour traffic.

Re:Missing the Point (2, Informative)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186968)

Not missing the point, really. Much like the author of the FA, I am not in an area where mass-transit exists, much less is an option.

I save a HUGE amount of time by going to and from work after rush hour. Fortunately my employer permits this (within reason). As an added bonus, I get to sleep late. For whatever reason, sleep between 6 AM and 8 AM seems to be the most "productive" for me, regardless of when I go to bed.

Granted, I now live close enough that when the temperature and weather are reasonable (meaning I don't waste further time by having to shower after I arrive at the office, and don't risk being stuck for hours after work hours due to the evening thunderstorms), I can walk in about 20 minutes max.

When I drive during (or attempt to go before) rush hour, the drive takes about 20 minutes. When I go 15 minutes after 9, it's 5 minutes.

A lot of that has to do with people who are getting on the interstate, have a much longer drive, and are so resigned that they don't pay enough attention for everyone to hit the lights properly...Or are obsessed with doing business on their cell phones when they're supposed to be driving...

So in part I guess you're right, it's not driving when everyone else is driving, but I'm not getting up at 5 AM to miss the rush, so I really don't think he was missing the point entirely...

80 hours vacation? (2, Informative)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186911)

"Spread out over 50 work weeks, that results in a total savings of over 30 hours a year - the equivalent of about a 38% boost to my existing 80 hours of vacation."

Now I'm always hearing how "good" we have it in Europe, what with 25 days (187.5 hours) holiday each year plus 8-10 bank holidays.

Finally something us Brits do better than the Yanks (even the US version of our Office is better).

Re:80 hours vacation? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186926)

Yeah, but US coupling was the worse show ever. Even worse than Friends.

Re:80 hours vacation? (2, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186949)

He's getting the minimum standard vacation time.

After ten years at one of the companies I worked for, I would have gotten double the leave/year. Heck, right now I get a whole month a year, plus bank holidays.

Like many things in america, there are published 'minimums' in many states, but that doesn't mean that the companies can't offer more if they choose to do so.

Re:80 hours vacation? (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186989)

Do employment laws vary it vary state-to-state, like the age of consent, death penalty and some other important stuff?

We've got something like 20 days min. standard holiday, the bank holidays technically can be part of this though in practise they're never included. Except for seriously abused workers. Even "temps" get them.

Re:80 hours vacation? (4, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186972)

No joke. The holiday situation in the U.S. is deplorable compared to the rest of the so-called Western World. If you worked at a low-paying job, like a fast food franchise, you might be lucky to get those 80 hours.

A lot of Europeans complain that Americans are sheltered and don't know anything about the rest of the world. And why should we? We're hard pressed to find any time to travel. If you travel for just one week out of an entire year, that leaves you with just five available vacation days to plan for friends' weddings, a visit from family, a camping trip, etc.

Most of us burn our sick days for short-term time off like that, but that's hardly a good solution. Oh wait -- you have heard about the American healthcare system, haven't you?

Companies in the U.S. are fond of management philosophies that emphasize effective "human capital management." Say that ten times fast. Sounds a lot like "human cattle management," doesn't it? Coincidence?

Re:80 hours vacation? (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187022)

The "problem" with America is the wealth distribution: it might be the wealthiest country in the world, but when that wealth is focussed on a small percentage of the population it's not good.

UK's getting closer to the US, though it's tempered a bit by Europe.

The Scandinavians - particularly the Danish - have a much better mix. Denmark has one of the lowest networth varients in the world - there aren't the extremes of rich and poor as there are in the rest of the world.

Still, what we'd consider "poor" in the Western world (i.e. on benefits) would be considered rich in Africa :-/

Re:80 hours vacation? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187090)

Are there numbers for this available somewhere? I would think it would be very difficult to show the "wealth distribution" accurately, but surely there's some way to compare the various nations. Obviously, there's no way just comparing the Top 1 person to the Bottom 1 person would accurately portray this.

Wrong wrong wrong (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187136)

The difference between us and Europe is not that our poor are poorer, but that our rich are richer, and so is our middle-class. Perhaps the worst five percent in Europe is better off than the US, the next 20% is roughly equal, and the remaining 75% is somewhat to substantially poorer.

I will play the odds in the states, thank you very much. If you are worried about being in the botton 5%, buy insurance or move to Canada.

FYI, I have lived in both Europe and Asia, and thank God I am lucky enough to be an American. We have it better than anyone else. Also, as a side note, many Europeans appear to be rich because they are childless. Their birthrates are well below replacement levels, making such a society unsustainable. Instead of having kids, they are wasting money on travel and fashion. Does this make them richer?

I found not leaving at all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186914)

...results in saving driving hours equivalent to over 26 times the vacation time given annually by my unemployer.

great (2, Interesting)

drgroove (631550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186923)

now my boss can site statistical analysis in his list of reasons as to why I should work more overtime.

thanks a lot, guys.

This is Completely True (1)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186924)

I can say that what this guy found is completely reasonable. I commute from central Los Angeles to Malibu, and if I leave for work at 8am, and leave work at 5pm, it takes me about 50 minutes each way. If I leave an hour later, I can shave 10 minutes off both ways on average, and an hour after that, I can cut it down to 35 minutes each way.

However, I'm lucky in that my job has very flexible hours. If I wanted to, I could go in at noon and leave at 9pm. MOST people do not have such a liberty, either because their bosses won't let them, or because they can't be as productive during non-business hours (Especially people who collaborate extensively).

The other issue is that a lot of my friends DO work the regular hours, and since I get out of work 2 hours after they do, it's difficult to coordinate after-work activities. So, there are ups and downs to both methods. It depends strongly on your personal situation.

Re:This is Completely True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15187120)

MOST people do not have such a liberty, either because their bosses won't let them...

I worked at a place with a strict 8 to 5 policy. There was no reason behind the policy except that some employees needed to be there during business hours. My position didn't require that. In fact, there were times when being there before everyone else would have helped me get my job done, but I was still expected to keep business hours.

By arriving and leaving 30 minutes early, I could shave anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes (depending on the season) off my commute both ways. (And, an immeasurable amount of frustration.) Even saving the minimum 60 minutes round trip, that's 6.5 workweeks each year.

I still arrived early to avoid traffic, but I spent the time paying bills, studying, and dealing with other personal items, rather than working. I started work at 8:00 sharp. Likewise, I sometimes stayed late, but stopped working at 5:00. They would have gotten much more work out of me had they been the least bit reasonable with their policies.

Eventually I left, because I was, in effect, "working" an additional 10-15% each year compared to the time I could save if they had been reasonable, but without a commensurate increase in salary.

And how much time will I save? (0, Offtopic)

ContactClean (232734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186931)

And how much time would I save if someone would mirror this site so I can read the article now that it is slashdoted?

Re:And how much time will I save? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186962) []

stats (0)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186932)

Someone needs to refresh this guy's understanding of statistical analysis.

Re:stats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186942)

Thanks for the compltely elaborated statement you made. It really enlightened me.

Re:stats (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187126)

He is conducting ANOVA after ANOVA looking for something with a p < 0.05. This is because his threshold for statistical significance is 0.05 (i.e., 5% probability that his findings are the result of chance, not an effect).

But he is not thinking. When one does multiple ANOVAs, the p value of the conclusions is not the p value of any one of the tests, but rather the p value of the entirety of the tests on the same data.

His conclusions are suggesting that he is confident to p < 0.05 that certain things are true based on his numerous two-variable contrasts. In fact, he is only INDEPENDENTLY confident to p < 0.05 of EACH of his conclusions, whereas he is suggesting that he is simultaneously confident to p < 0.05 of all of his conclusions. This is not at all the case, and it is more like n*.05, which is well above the p < 0.05 threshold.

The above is the general idea. I didn't go through and calculate his cumulative probability for error. But, basically, when one takes data and just runs a shitload of ANOVAs until something finds significance, that's not statistical analysis -- that's fishing.

Of course you could always (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15186940)

Of course you could always just take the train :)

(assuming your civilization has bothered to research Mass Transit)

cost time?? (1)

EllynGeek (824747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186945)

"OmniNerd has an interesting traffic article demonstrating how leaving early for work may cost you time. "

WTF?? Maybe you should read your own articles before posting them. Slashdot should change its motto to "we don't need no steenking English skillz."

Re:cost time?? (1)

Woldry (928749) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187076)

I don't understand your objection. "Cost time" is perfectly acceptable English and has been so for centuries. No less a source than the Oxford English Dictionary lists as one of the definitions of the verb "cost":

To necessitate or involve the expenditure of (time, [emphasis added] trouble, or the like), loss or sacrifice of (some valued possession), suffering of (some penalty, etc.).

It goes on to quote some of those lousy hack writers -- you know, people like Gower, Shakespeare, Milton, De Foe, Huxley ...

The phrase may not be to your taste, but it doesn't show any lack of English skills.

Re:cost time?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15187105)

The errors are deliberate, to provide low hanging fruit to the people that will complain about *something* no matter what you do. Keeps those people busy while the rest of us discuss the real issues (in addition to saving money on editors).

Choose wisely... (2, Interesting)

gansch (939712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186952)

Where you live and work is a choice, and I don't want to have to listen to anyone complain about a situation that is his or her own fault. If you don't like the commute, live closer to work or use alternative forms of transportation. Personally, I choose a long commute to live where I play and commute about 45 min to work, but I made an informed decision (taking into account traffic, my schedule, etc.) before committing myself to both locations. If you can minimize your commute, great; if not, do not complain about the situation you have chosen.

Re:Choose wisely... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15187067)

that is the most retarted statement I have ever heard.
IF the only jobs paying more than $9.00 an hour are in an area where the smallest crapshack is $900,000.00 then nobody can afford to live where they work.

Ok so I guess I could work selling crack on the corner but live in a nice home that cost me $45,000.00...

how about FORCING companies to pay the employees a living wage? Instead of wasting the money in a office in a exclusive part of town with a $1,000,000 a month rent?

oh wait we cant expect executive to make smart decisions.

Re:Choose wisely... (2, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187078)

Unfortunately, there usually isn't a choice, and no, it's not a situation that is always one's own fault.

Traffic patterns change. Where I live now, in five short years, places that weren't congested before are now locked up tight every single workday. Am I supposed to move every five years? Also, some of us kind of like the idea of being able to someday pay off our house, but we work in an idustry where people shuffle around every six months to a year. (Thank you, outsourcing!) If I moved every time I've changed jobs to be closer to work, I'd be constantly selling and buying houses, a proposition I'm not too fond of.

Plus, there are factors involved in where you live other than just where you work. I have a friend who has lived in the same house for around 20 years. He knows the people in his community, his kids have grown up there and are still in school, and it's where he'll likely live until the day he dies. When he got laid off, he had to take a job that was around half an hour further away, and he's been trying to find something else closer ever since. Is his commute his own fault? I suppose technically, yes, but it doesn't make his situation any less worthy of sympathy.

My point is that while it's true that some people deliberately make informed choices to move far away from their work, in reality, that is rarely the case, and it's no excuse for people to not raise the question, "Is there any way to make the traffic situation better?"

Re:Choose wisely... (2, Insightful)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187140)

So easy to say.

I bought a house 10 minutes away from where I work. A year and a half later, the company decided to relocate their headquarters to a location that is 25 minutes farther away. It is not really practical to change where you live based on where you are working at any given moment, unless you are renting. And even then...

From TFA (1)

Kangburra (911213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186956)

I could possibly squeeze out a few more minutes of savings by scheduling my vacation days to align with the potentially longest commutes (e.g., non-Friday school days in the months of November, February and April)

Easy, just have every Monday and Friday off if school is in.

Didn't someone once try and get the working week down to three days?

statistics (1)

Tinkster (831703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186960)

So he has proven that to HIM an early leave makes that
that kind of difference ;}

To get the full handle on things everyone will have to
condict their own tests, and just think about that accumulated
waste of time!

Anyway, around four years ago my commute time in the car was optimal
leaving home before 0715 (around 35 minutes) and on average I'd
say it added 5 minutes of traveltime per 10 minutes I left late
until about 0845 when it ebbed out again...


Err... no (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186967)

It's not that leaving early is necessarily worse; it's that leaving at the same time as everyone else is definitely worse. This greatly depends on individual circumstances. When I used to work at Sandia National Labs, for example, some people would come in to work after everyone else had left, since you are usually allowed to work whenever you want. As a result, they avoided absolutely all other traffic, and got to park right up front (which is a big deal when the parking lots are the size of football fields). Not only that, they avoided dealing with random people bugging them about random things throughout the day, saving more time. Of course, something like that is more suitable for the antisocial types, but this is an example that clearly saves more time.

Re:Err... no (1)

sog_abq (960133) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187146)

Its still that way. In some areas, its almost like there are two shifts... Those persons who get to work at 4 or 5 AM and then leave at 2 or 3 and then those who get to work at 3 and park up front like you said. Now that I think about it, the parking benefits of shift work are interesting (but only applicable if one shift leaves before the other arrives, which isn't normal).

Stupid confusing write up (0, Troll)

hellfire (86129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186988)

The submitter simply wrote something that, to me, made no sense the first time I read it. Then I read a bit of the article and it made sense. The article is about how it may actually take you longer to commute home if you leave early from work. Took me a second but I was wondering if the article was talking about how it would cost you or your employer extra man hours or something or reduced your efficiency at work? I thought this because #1 slashdot loves to post "lost productivity" articles and #2 slashdot would be as dumb to post an article about common sense would they?

This is worthy of a first year college student science project at best, or maybe a civil engineer project to improve traffic, but it's not news. Everyone who has at least a small smattering of logical power knows that it's if everyone else is on the road when you drive, not how soon. I take back roads to work. Why? Because everyone else is on the main road, duh! I work 9:00 to 6:00 as well, so the backroads almost never "overflow" during those times when there is a particularly nasty snag either.

I fail to see how these facts and figures teach us anything about the world we didn't already know. It doesn't belong on any news website. This must be the slowest news day ever

Re:Stupid confusing write up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15187033)

what he meant to say was that monster island is actually a peninsula!

so... (1)

ActionAL (260721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186993)

what kind of self serving edifice to self glorification is this? i live in ny, and because i picked a good place to stay i commute 10 mins to work without headaches.

everyone's got to learn their own local gridlock times and chose the best time to leave their house. who cares about one person's self study and proclamation of intelligence. someone needs to just use common sense.

Good Reason to Work from Home (1)

VonSkippy (892467) | more than 8 years ago | (#15186997)

I work from home - my commute is done in house slippers, takes about 15 seconds no matter how many kids are in the hallway.

With SSH, VPN, VNC, and WebCam I only need to be onsite in realtime once a week or so.

Saves gas, saves time, saves money (no office space required), saves my sanity.

Not necessarily (1)

Godji (957148) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187005)

10 If everyone read that article, then everyone would start leaving late, and the problem would remain.

20 Now, how long would it take before someone came up with the astonishing discovery that "Leaving work on time instead of late saves you time"?

30 That would work too, until someone would come up with... wait, do you see that perpetual cycle too..?

40 GOTO 10

Math problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15187012)

"...the average U.S. commuter spends about 100 hours a year driving just to work - 20 hours more than a typical year's supply of vacation.2 This personal "daily grind" uses more than 15,000 miles and 1,000 gallons of gas every year..."

15,000 miles a year taking 100 hours? 15,000/100 = 150 MPH. If you can go 150 miles per hour, the traffic can't be that bad.

leaving *really* early for work. (5, Funny)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187020)

I have a funny recollection about one programmer I've worked with. He's just got hired. He asked to allow him to arrive to work *really* early so to beat the traffic, and got ok. So he was coming to work around 7 am. The rest of the bunch was showing up sometime between 9 and 10. From 7 to 9 am the guy was practically doing nothing, and I mean nothing: reading newspapers and playing Solitair on PC (that was the time before the company got connected to Internet). Of course he was always promptly leaving at 3 pm. So not only he's managed to beat the traffic but had about 2 hours at work doing nothing. He was so successful in that that eventually he became a consultant (in the same company). No kidding.

I don't know about you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15187024)

But I'm a lazy sod who would rather spend an extra 20 minutes in traffic than an extra 20 minutes in my cubicle.

Here's an idea... (1)

jonoid (863970) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187028)

...take public transportation. I'm not going to go on about the whole cars are evil/polluting/gas guzzling argument, I'm sure you are all familiar with it by now. Take public transportation because you can make it a more productive time than driving.

Rather than focusing your attention on the road you could be sitting on a bus or train listening to your music or reading a book, or even catching up on some work on your laptop.

If you live far from where you work you might as well make your time commuting to and fro more useful and interesting.

Re:Here's an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15187127)

An honest question: You're not American, are you?

To get to my university would take me approximately 5 hours one way through the public transporation system, including about half an hour to fourty-five minutes of walking.

It takes 40 minutes to get there by car.

cycling (5, Insightful)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187034)

the *real* solution is not to drive at all. I know this will make me sound like an unpatriotic communist, but (disclaimer - I live in a relatively small Australian city of about 1 million poeple) I can definitely commute much faster in rush hour traffic than I can in a car. I get to work in about 1/2 the time of driving, and about 1/3 the time of public transport. Cycling's very cheap, and it turns an otherwise stressful time into a pleasant experience. And it gives exercise!! What a deal!! :-)

The other plus, is that finding parking for a bicycle is always easy. No more hunting/paying for car parking. My fiance and I both cycle, and this means that we only run one car. A big economic saving. I highly recommend it.

Nerdy analysis (0, Offtopic)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187036)

Analysing his traffic patterns...

That guy has way too much time on his hands...Oh wait..

This is not a scientific study (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187041)

If you live in a city with a significant traffice problem, you'll note a couple things:

1) Where you live has a huge influence - if you live on one side of the river or the other, the bridge may be the limiting factor

2) The time of year makes a big difference and has a huge impact on traffic - during the summer, you can leave later, but during the school year, you have to beat the school buses, because they determine when parents leave for work (mom/dad can't leave until the bus picks up the kids)

3) Traffic will vary based on things that are hard to determine because the system of traffic is so complex as to defy simply analysis

4) Your speed has a huge impact. If traffic moving, you can cut/thrust in and out of traffic and probably save 5-10 minutes over times when traffic is creeping along

5) Things vary tremendously during the week, month, year.

To make this analysis anything like meaningful, you'd need to track each person's origin/destination/time of departure/time of arrival and then make a model to determine optimum leaving times based on day of year and origin/destination. And of course, you'd need real-time information on accidents, weather variables and road closings to complete this model. I suspect we will have this information within the next 10-20 years as cell phones are tracked and we have real-time information about road conditions available centrally.

I suspect for most people who commute in their cars and have some flexibility, they've done a crude test and understand when they need to leave. For some people, they don't have that kind of flexibility. If your boss says you must come in at 8 and leave at 4, then that's your commute time. If your boss says "be in before 9" then you have the flexiblity.

But this guy driving into work and timing it for a few weeks and then trying to come up with a general model for everybody? Might as well use a Ouija board, because it's going to be just as accurate as this analysis.

Seattle data is kind of messed up (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187042)

Try for high tech workers living in Seattle. The commute to Redmond or Bellevue is horrible.

Varies from 45 minutes to 2 hours. 15 minutes difference in start time makes a HUGE difference in how long it takes to get there.

What really sucks is that this summer I have an internship at Boeing lined up, for their Everett plant.

That is a 90 minute or so commute each way. 3 hours a day, bleck.

And this guy complains about his 20 some minute commute! Sounds lovely to me!

Re:Seattle data is kind of messed up (1)

beoswulf (940729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187139)

Boeing eh?
I have two words for you and your people.

Flying cars.

Do something else? (1)

carterhawk001 (681941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187059)

Whenever i make a delivery for work, its usualy in the afternoon, and on the 91, looots of traffic. So i work my way to the 5 and head south a bit, spend a couple of hours at disneyland, then head home in very little traffic :D

What affects my commute time (2, Funny)

wk633 (442820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187063)

is the wind and my warmup. I usually have a headwind in the morning, and I'm not warmed up, so it takes about 28-30 min. A good tailwind on the way home and I can make the nine miles in under 26.

way over fit (1)

poincare (63294) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187081)

His graphs seem to be way over fit. Look at this [] . It would make way more sense just to do a simple linear regression of evening commute duration against departure time.

Unfortunately this article doesn't seem to be as applicable as one might hope: for those of us not living in Huston or traveling different routes it's hard to get more out of it than "don't drive during rush-hour," which most people could figure out on their own anyway.

my experience (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187091)

I get off work at 4, which is about the time the commuter rail starts ramping up for rush hour. When I've left work early, I usually end up waiting between 10 to 15 minutes for the train. After 4, one comes every 4 or 5 minutes.

Mass Transit? (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187103)

I was agreeing with the author of the article, and thinking it was pretty interesting, until I got to the part at the end advocating mass transit.

Efficient mass transit, unfortunately, requires that we all work in a dense downtown area where a critical mass of people shows up. I don't think that's true of most of Houston. Mass transit is also unpleasant to use and generally very slow. Despite billions being thrown at it, mass transit still has an average market share of around 3%. More and bigger roads, logically enough, would be the better solution. Reducing congestion would save an enormous amount of money, almost certainly more than we could ever save from an impossible task like increasing mass transit market share to, say, 10%. This web site [] has lots of information on this and related issues.

When I got a new, high-paying job when I lived in California, my solution to the problem was to buy a house that was 10 minutes from my office. I highly recommend that as the fastest and most ecologically sound solution. I could drive my 1991 Mercedes 420SEL (14mpg) with a clear conscience, knowing I was using less gas than many Prius drivers with long commutes.

Now I work out of my home in the country, with about a meeting a week in the city, and that works out fine too, especially since my boss is fairly nocternal. Late night commuting is, of course, very fast.


Hope I have waited long enough (2, Funny)

has2k1 (787264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187116)

First post

Arriving Early Can Cost Time As Well (sort of) (2, Insightful)

bgfay (5362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187117)

I'm a teacher in a high school, so this is different for others I'm sure. Still, I find that arriving early is often just as time-consuming. I get there early and so I don't HAVE to get right to work, so instead, I fool around online, look at the important stuff on /. and otherwise keep myself from getting started. If I show up with a lot less time on my hands, I frantically dive into work. Of course, I might just be weird...

Duh. (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187128)

1. Find out when school starts in your town. (different schools may have different times but the elementary school is probably the most important)

2. Leave fifteen minutes earlier or ten minutes later.

3. Wonder where everyone else is hiding.

Or just wait until 9:00, when most other people are already at work.

Saving hours by driving in the slow lane. (1)

crazyjeremy (857410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187129)

I used to commute 40 miles to work directly through a city, going through several large highway intersections. I could save 15 minutes by driving swiftly through the slow lanes, dodging traffic that was entering and leaving the highway. SO MANY slow drivers clogged up the fast lanes I could cut my commute significantly by avoiding it completely.

It's been like this for a while (1)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15187133)

For those who work in the Bay Area, but live in Tracy or [shudder] Holister, it is well known that if you don't leave work before 3:00PM, you might as well work until 6:00PM.

You'll get home at about the same time.
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