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Commuting Doesn’t Have to Be Terrible: 5 Alternatives to Sitting in Traffic


The daily commute can be miserable. No wonder people prefer to work from home. I know I do.

Too bad auditing requires you to show your face at a client’s office. And don’t tell me it’s for rapport building. It’s to keep the client honest. Otherwise, I’m sure the whole audit would get sent overseas.

While an easy drive to and from work doesn’t bother most people, the frustration bubbles up when you get stuck in traffic. Profanity abounds. It is the reality of doing an audit.

According to a 2015 study, we are destined to spend upwards of 42 hours a year in traffic jams. Let’s discuss commuting alternatives on this fine Thursday. If I still drove to work, I’d like to get that time back to do more enjoyable activities or to sleep in every day.

Bike to work

In honor of Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area today, we’ll mention this classic way to skip gridlock. It’s a healthy alternative, and it’s a lot cheaper than driving. For instance:

It costs just $308 per year to keep bikes in shape — nearly 30 times less than cars, according to the Sierra Club. It says: “If American drivers were to make just one four-mile round trip each week with a bicycle instead of a car, they would save nearly 2 billion gallons of gas. At $4 per gallon, total savings would be $7.3 billion a year.”

Or, if you want to spice it up, why not get a penny-farthing bike? This guy did in Chicago:

And it seems he’s not the only one. There seem to be a handful of other people who prefer the old-fashioned bicycle. I remember seeing this guy biking to and from work in Denver:


Park your tiny house in the client’s parking lot

You can’t pitch a tent in your client’s parking lot. So, maybe, you could simply park your tiny house outside? I kind of like that idea. Tiny homes are fairly comfortable and during busy season, you basically live at work anyway. What do you think? Try it and let us know how it goes.


Subways are the lifeblood of most big cities. It seems like old news to hop on the subway to beat traffic. Or, that’s true until Elon Musk starts to meddle with the idea of underground tunnels to move people around quickly.

Musk envisions an interconnected 3D tunnel network with crazy car skates to transport cars under Los Angeles at lightning speed. Confused? Just watch this video from The Boring Company:

The tunneling project has plenty of engineering hiccups, but Musk doesn’t seem too worried about them when he spoke at TED in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago:

So a couple of key things that are important in having a 3D tunnel network. First of all, you have to be able to integrate the entrance and exit of the tunnel seamlessly into the fabric of the city. So by having an elevator, sort of a car skate, that’s on an elevator, you can integrate the entrance and exits to the tunnel network just by using two parking spaces. And then the car gets on a skate. There’s no speed limit here, so we’re designing this to be able to operate at 200 kilometers an hour [about 130 miles per hour]… So you should be able to get from, say, Westwood to LAX in six minutes — five, six minutes.

While I haven’t spent much time in LA traffic, the concept sounds glorious. Musk has already acquired a drilling machine that he named “Godot” this morning after a character who never shows up in a play called “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett. Funny, Elon.

Above-ground commuter trains

Another old standby, ideal for being able to zone out on your commute and relax a bit without worrying about being rear-ended. I only know of a few cities that have these and, typically, the client is too far away from the stop to make it convenient. But, it can be nice, when it works out, and the client is right near the stop. Oh, and it’s a lifesaver when it’s snowing, and the interstate is a skating rink!

Although, I will mention that I took a light rail to work for several months, and I still remember how eerily quiet it was in the morning. You could feel how depressed everyone was as they marched into work. But, drown out the silence with some headphones, and you’re all set.


Last but not least — ditch the mode of transportation and move closer to your clients. Sure, this will not work if you live in a suburban area, but it theoretically could be a game changer in a bigger city. Walking is easier now that everyone is using digital work papers — at least I hope they are by now.

What are your favorite commuting alternatives? Who rides takes a water taxi every day? Who’s dog sledding to the Anchorage office? What else did I miss?