by Vladislav Stamenov
Commuting, as defined by several dictionaries, including the online Cambridge dictionary, is the act of travelling regularly between work and home. Although it is not mentioned, the means of transportation by which commuting is realized are usually a car, bus or train, and it is an everyday activity for most people.
The word itself derives from the Latin comutare. The deconstruction of the word is as follows: com – which is altogether and mutare which is to change. The word commute in its original meaning is the act of buying and using a commutation ticket, the US term for a season ticket.
There is a lot of statistical data on commuting. Given enough thought, these numbers can translate into statistics about the lives of the citizens in a given country, or can be used to draw an economic map.
For example in the UK, people living in London have the longest commute - the amount of time spent travelling to work - on average is 45 minutes. In comparison, people in Manchester or Liverpool on average have a commute that lasts about 26 minutes. That’s almost half. What is interesting is that even though people in London have the longest commute as far as time is concerned, on average they travel for about 11 km. Compared to that, people in East England, for example, have a commute that is about 17 km, but take less time to cover the distance. From these simple statistics, it can be concluded that people in some parts of the country have to travel longer to find a suitable workplace. Or there aren’t any job offers that are closer to their homes.
An interesting fact is that even though on average people in London have the shortest travel time, there is an increase in the number of people who travel for over two hours. Which is directly correlated to the economic and political changes in recent years(i.e. economic crisis, Brexit etc.).
The number of people making a regular commute in the UK increased from 20.3 million in 2001 to 21.5 million in 2011, a rise of 5.8%. There was a decrease, however, in the proportion of workers making a regular commute from 86% in 2001 to 81% in 2011. This decrease can be explained by the fact that there are more people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations, workers with no fixed and people who work from their homes.
Publications on Commuting
There are articles in some of the biggest British papers like the Independent or the Guardian. They contain a lot of statistics as commuting is directly related to the economic landscape of the UK.
The Guardian has an article which mentions the fact that there is an increase in the commute of UK workers as they struggle to find work closer to home. In many cases it can be argued that this kind of data is more reliable than the data form any other economic research which sometimes has to take into consideration too many variables and unquantifiable facts.
The Independent has an article on the fact that commuting is getting “worse” as there are 17 stations that had to be closed down because they couldn’t handle the amount of travellers. This indicates that there aren’t enough investments in the UK’s infrastructure and there are no tangible efforts for businesses to expand or relocate outside of London.