Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Health Cost of Commuting

In America's Unhealthy Commutes, we learn that the unhealthy part of the commute is the air we breathe on freeways, the traffic delays, and accidents. I'm not sure I entirely agree with the rationale stated by David Rizzo, author of Survive the Drive! How to Beat Freeway Traffic in Southern California:

"It's a lifestyle choice. We put our health second. To have a big house, we're willing to put up with smog and a big drive. We sacrifice our longevity for short-term gains."

I suppose it's a lifestyle choice in the broadest sense. But since most people I know in Southern California don't own their homes and hence haven't prioritized McMansions, many people can barely afford to rent, I think it's much more a problem of the enormous size of the LA basis and the high housing costs. Indeed, most people I know have switched jobs more often than rentals, which are increasingly hard to find.

Alternatives to car commuting? Public transportation, working at home, biking, walking, and in many cases, simply walking away entirely.

Photo and links via Treehugger