What is a megacommuter? You can figure it out by breaking out the two parts of the word – mega, as in large, and commuter
. A megacommuter is an individual who works at least 50 miles from home and has a commute of at least 90 minutes. (These are one-way commutes, folks. One-way!)
A megacommuter is the opposite of a telecommuter. While myself and others who work from home have a 90-second commute to work, others are sitting in traffic or using public transportation
for their 90-minute ride to work.
New data obtained by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that there are about 600,000 megacommuters in this country, with the largest concentration residing in California. If you’ve ever been stuck in southern California traffic
, you can understand why the state has the largest concentration of megacommuters.
Phoenix traffic isn’t much better. My husband used to have a megacommute; it took him from 90 minutes to two hours to get to work. He had a company vehicle, which was nice from a gas-saving perspective, but it was still three to four hours a day in a car. Based on census data, he was close to the typical megacommuter.
“Three-quarters of megacommuters are male, and they are more likely to be married, older, make a higher salary and have a spouse who does not work. They also are likely to leave for work before 6 a.m., according to the study,” says the Chicago Tribune
But my husband wasn’t older – unless late 20s and early 30s is considered old and while I worked, it was as a freelancer and so not as an employee. Thankfully my husband is now one of the more than 13 million Americans who telecommute. If he isn’t traveling out-of-state for business, then he is working from his home office. He doesn’t even have a dedicated space in his company’s local office.
While a megacommute is defined as a 50-mile plus, 90-minute minimum commute, the 600,000 figure doesn’t take into account workers who travel less than 50 miles one-way but still spend at least 90 minute in traffic. In Southern California, it can easily take 90 minutes to travel 30 miles, depending on the route and the time of day. My last trip to the region was a December trip to Disneyland
, and on our way home we hit rush-hour traffic on the 91. Although we were in the HOV lane, we were still stuck in stop-and-go traffic, with more stop than go at times.
While some may say that the answer to this problem is to move closer to work or find a job closer to home, in my opinion the answer is telecommuting. With today’s technology, telecommuting is a viable alternative for so many different positions across numerous industries; telecommuting is an easy solution to the megacommuting problem.