A Measure of Efficiency and Honest Conversations
I find it interesting how social values change over time. It appears that social norms change quickly, almost as if the collective “social consciousness” seemingly bands together to decide that a social practice is no longer acceptable. This type of transformation is happening with the harmful impact of commuting to a job – remote working is now paving the path to better options. While these types of social changes might appear to occur suddenly, in fact, these changes slowly simmer until bursting into the mainstream.
We saw this occur in 2017 with society’s view on sexual harassment in the entertainment and other fields (ex: #TimesUp and #MeToo). No longer is it acceptable to simply look the other way, and consider it a part of getting ahead in show business.
The Origins of Commuting
The word commuter appears to originate from a marketing campaign set up during the early days of rail travel in the United States.
In the 1840s, the railways were eager to attract new customers living in the suburbs of New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago, so they offered a reduced or “commuted” fare into the city. Later, the term variations “commute” and “commuter” followed. Commuted tickets would
usually allow the traveler to repeat the same journey as often as they liked during the period when the ticket was valid.
Fast forward 150 years later, and the concept of life without commuting seems impossible. As population growth continues to shift either to or from Central Business Districts, the suburbs or further rural areas, it seemed like a constant that workers had to spend time commuting to work.