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Reading: Social science — How-to Part 1

Video transcript
- [Voiceover] We have a passage here, this passage is adapted from Richard Florida, "The Great Reset." I've been finding these passages interesting so I'm excited about this. In today's idea-driven economy, the cost of time is what really matters. With the constant pressure to innovate, it makes little sense to waste countless collective hours commuting. So, the most efficient and productive regions are those in which people are thinking and working - not sitting in traffic. The auto-dependent transportation system has reached its limit in most major cities and megaregions. Commuting by car is among the least efficient of all our activities - not to mention among the least enjoyable, according to detailed research by the Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues. Though one might think that the economic crisis beginning in 2007 would have reduced traffic (high unemployment means fewer workers travelling to and from work), the opposite has been true. Average commutes have lengthened, and congestion has gotten worse, if anything. The average commute rose in 2008 to 25.5 minutes, "erasing years of decreases "to stand at the level of 2000, "as people had to leave their homes "earlier in the morning "to pick up friends for their ride to work "or to catch a bus or subway train," according to the US Census Bureau, which collects figures. So this right here is I guess a direct quote from the US Census Bureau. And those are average figures. Commutes are far longer in the big West Coast cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco and the East Coast cities of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC. In many of these cities, gridlock has become the norm, not just at rush hour but all day, everyday. The costs are astounding. In Los Angeles, congestion eats up more than 485 million working hours a year; that's 70 hours or nearly two weeks, of full-time work per commuter. In DC, the time cost of congestion is 62 hours per worker per year. In New York it is 44 hours. Average it out, and the time cost across America's 13 biggest city-regions is 51 hours per worker per year. Across the country, commuting wastes 4.2 billion hours of work time annually - nearly a full workweek for every commuter. The overall cost to the US economy is nearly $90 billion when lost productivity and wasted fuel are taken into account. At the Martin Prosperity Institute, we calculate, so I guess that's where he works, we calculate that every minute shaved off America's commuting time is worth $19.5 billion in value added to the economy. The numbers add up fast: five minutes is worth $97.7 billion; 10 minutes, $195 billion; 15 minutes, $292 billion. It's ironic that so many people still believe the main remedy for traffic congestion is to build more roads and highways, which of course only makes the problem worse. New roads generate higher levels of "induced traffic," that is, new roads just invite drivers to drive more and lure people who take mass transit back to their cars. Eventually, we end up with more clogged roads rather than a long-term improvement in traffic flow. The coming decades will likely see more intense clustering of jobs, innovation, and productivity in a smaller number of bigger cities and city-regions. Some regions could end up bloated beyond the capacity of their infrastructure, while others struggle, their promise stymied by inadequate human or other resources. All right, so this guy, he is very anti-traffic, very anti-long-commute-times and it seem like he doesn't think the solution is more roads, because he thinks that will just get more people driving. We have a chart here, The Most Congested Cities in 2011, Yearly Hours of Delay per Automobile Commuter. Year hours of delay. Yearly hours of delay per automobile commuter. Here we see DC is actually at the top right over here, at least for this list Phoenix is at the bottom, although there's probably many other cities if we were to keep listing them, these are the biggest cities, the most congested cities in 2011. The average of these very large cities, look it's a little over 50 hours, they talk about that. A normal workweek is roughly 40 hours so it's saying the average commuter is spending over a week of worth of work sitting in their car, sitting in traffic maybe getting stresses and frustrated. This is the argument of this passage. Looking forward to doing the questions.