Staff Editorial: Pittsburgh commute wastes money

We Millennials hate to wait. Whether it’s waiting for something to download, waiting to get somewhere or any other type of time-wasting delay, we can’t stand it. By far, though, the worst waste of time is waiting in traffic.

A study released on Tuesday by the Texas A&M Traffic Institute found that the average American commuter wasted $818 and 38 hours a year waiting in traffic. After studying congestion in 498 urban areas, the institute found that $121 billion were wasted in 2011, along with 5.5 billion hours and 2.9 billion gallons of fuel.

Those of us who commute in and around Pittsburgh, according to the study, waste $826 and 39 hours a year. For a school like Duquesne, where only about 3,500 of its 10,000 students live on campus, that’s a big deal.

Each Pittsburgh commuter wastes an average of $826 and 39 hours a year stuck in traffic.

It’s crazy that we, who love to do things quickly and demand our information to be updated the millisecond it happens, haven’t figured out a way around wasting so much time getting where we need to be.

We may enjoy the independence of driving our own vehicles and we may be reluctant to give up that freedom. There are ways around wasting so much time and money sitting on the highways.

Public transportation is always an option. Sure it has a schedule of its own and may not take you right to where you need to be, but it can get you pretty close. For those of us who live in the South Hills, the T, Pittsburgh’s version of a train system, is a great option for getting into the city. It runs from the North Shore to Library and the South Hills Village, depending on which route you choose, and entirely bypasses the traffic that backs up in and around the city.

If public transportation is entirely out of the question, carpooling is another way to go. Find a friend who lives nearby and coordinate your schedules. Taking turns driving in and sharing a ride means there’s at least one less vehicle clogging the roadways. Pittsburgh has special high occupancy vehicle, or HOV, lanes for those who choose to carpool. These lanes, located on I-279 and I-579 are usually the only ones not backed up during rush hour.

Regardless of whether you’re riding solo or occupying the HOV lanes, planning your commute so that you can avoid high traffic times is key. Arriving on campus an hour earlier may allow you to avoid a dreaded jam and leave time for a little extra studying or meeting a friend for coffee. Being mindful of what the best and worst times to be on the road are can stop you from blowing money out of your tailpipe in traffic.