What are the Benefits of Not Driving to Work?

Your commute may take a bigger toll on your mental health and the environment then you realize.

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Women reading on train

Driving is a convenience that makes life a little simpler and may even shorten your commute to work in the mornings. However, riding a bike, taking public transportation or even ridesharing are great alternatives. Plenty of millennials are choosing these options over driving—and they may be on to something, as more people are emphasizing the mental health benefits of exercise. It’s time to think about the personal benefits that come with alternatives to driving.  

Benefits of Not Driving to Work

Before deciding whether you’ll forgo driving to work and instead take public transportation, consider your reasons why.

It’s better for the environment. According to the Federal Transit Administration, transportation accounts for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Since greenhouse gases are one of the leading causes of climate change, public transportation popularity is on the rise. Public transportation options produce up to 76% lower greenhouse gas emissions when compared to single-passenger cars. Plus, with fewer vehicles driving, roads will not wear down as quickly, experience as much damage or require as much maintenance.

It reduces your bills. Car payments, auto insurance, gas and vehicle maintenance add up, and some of these expenses are more prominent when you drive every day. Taking public transportation cuts down on gas and maintenance costs immediately. If you decide to get rid of your car altogether, you’ll appreciate not having a monthly car payment or auto insurance premium. These savings can add up, especially considering the average annual car insurance premium can reach $1,765 in major cities like Chicago.

It expands your network. Most individuals drive to work every day alone. Unless you are talking to yourself or listening to the radio, it’s likely a lonely drive. Public transportation is a great way to meet new people, and growing your network could be beneficial, especially in a sales role.

You can actually relax. When was the last time you just sat and watched the world around you without analyzing it? Having a busy life is the norm in today’s fast-paced society, and too often, nobody takes the time just to be. Unlike driving to work, using public transportation gives you a chance to take a deep breath, close your eyes, and relax or take in the view as you progress along the route.  

Use the time to get focused. Daily commutes are unpredictable. One day, the drive may be smooth and stress-free, and the next day, an accident could create a 30-minute delay. By the time you get to work, any focus you had for the day could be long gone. When it comes to public transportation, the same scenarios could also occur, but since you are not behind the wheel, you can use the time to gain control and get focused for the day. It is a great place to do daily meditation, affirmations or journaling.

Finally read that book. Plenty of us wish we had more time in the day. If you crave more time to conquer the pile of reading material stacked on your desk, using public transportation can help. Instead of driving, ride the bus and use the 20 minutes to read or even listen to a podcast while taking notes.

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