Increasing commutes and wear on physical infrastructure makes case for better broadband

Did you know that since the Paleolithic Era, people have always lived roughly 30 minutes from their work even as transport tech evolved from bare feet to carriage to train to automobile? Well apparently that was true, but it’s changing – according to an article in HyperLoop

Commuting rings just kept expanding outward. But Marchetti’s Constant has broken down in most big cities. New data collected from the public transit app Moovit shows average round-trip commute times are now 93 minutes in Philadelphia, 77 minutes in San Francisco, and 86 minutes in Boston and Chicago. A third of the people in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia say they commute more than two hours each day.

So what does this have to do with broadband? Well, the article is written to spur conversation…

But the maps are great conversation-starters for transportation planners and policymakers pondering how and where to deploy the potential billions the incoming Trump administration wants to spend on new and repaired infrastructure. Investment decisions should consider the way people live and work across boundaries of culture, politics and electoral districts. Transport should support and connect these dynamic economic zones to foster business formation, job mobility and personal economic freedom.

It seems to me that broadband could and should be part of the solution.

The article includes some compelling maps of commuting around the Twin Cities. In the red-orange map, “high volume, shorter commutes make up the bright yellow core while longer and less frequent routes show in red.” In the second darker maps looks at the same data but removed boundaries. Suddenly we see not one epicenter but several regional centers.

Imagine the improved quality of life for the commuters and economic potential if the commutes were less frequent or non-existent.

This entry was posted in Government, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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