Even though it only affects Southern California, the massive road construction event that earned the nickname Carmageddon has become a popular topic on social media. The Los Angeles area already suffered from legendary traffic jams. The shutdown of the 405 displayed that even the worst traffic nightmares could become even more congested.
Study after study has displayed that long commutes cause terrible stress, which leads to health and relationship problems. With public coffers already drained, the answer might not be to add more roads but to change the way we work.
Do you need to be at an office to perform your job? For many white collar jobs the answer is no. People can connect to their office through the Internet. Meetings can be conducted over the phone, and if a face-to-face meeting is necessary then video conferencing can solve that issue. The reduction of stress on the worker is one benefit of telecommuting, but it is hardly the only reason for companies to shift to this model.
Allowing workers to telecommute to the office saves the company money. There is no reason to rent or own office space. Keeping workers out of the office also limits the company’s insurance liability.
Even though both worker and employer benefit from telecommuting, the largest benefits might be to society. Limiting the number of cars on the road curbs pollution, and fewer cars also means less resources devoted to maintaining and constructing roads. Events like Carmageddon do not have to occur with the elimination of unnecessary commutes.