Welcome to DWR's Commuter Portal! The latest information and news on commuting is here to help DWR employees get the most out of their commute. Commuting is a major part of our lives and by making smart commuting choices, we can all help our community become more sustainable.
Smart choices do not mean making do with less; rather it means maximizing all potential benefits. For example, for those people who chose to walk or bike to work, they enjoy the added benefits of fitness and an opportunity to enjoy just being outdoors. Local transit riders as well as car and van pool commuters enjoy the extra benefits of paying less for parking and fuel as well as having the opportunity for making new friends and socializing.
All alternate forms of transportation aid in reducing greenhouse gases, reducing other types of air pollution including particulates and reducing traffic congestion. It is also important to recognize the amount of time wasted by clogged roadways! When everyone drives alone to save time on their daily commute, everyone is late!
Not everyone likes to drive as the above graphic demonstrates. Hopefully, this site will help you make the transition from the single driver commuter to more sustainable commuting. Sometimes, the transition can be as simple as comparing the cost of various kinds of commuting. To accurately compare the cost of different forms of transportation, all costs need to be calculated, even the hidden costs; those costs we don't normally consider. For more information on the hidden costs of commuting and to calculate your own actual cost, the following website has a commuter calculator where you enter your own commuting statistics and find out what you are actually paying to commute.
Bad, bad congestion.
Oh, how you try my patience.
Where’s that bus schedule?
Although this site is emphasizing alternate ways to commute, there may be times when that is not an option. When you have to drive, here's how to thrive while you drive.
1. Prepare in advance
One of the best ways to lessen the strain of road rage is to prepare everything the night before. Clothes, documents, attaché cases, and even packed lunches should be set the day before to avoid the morning rush. With everything champing at the bit, you'd save plenty of time to do your morning routines, devour a good breakfast and enjoy special moments with the family. Best of all, you can dash out the highway free of traffic congestion.
2. Sleep well and wake up early
A good night's sleep rejuvenates the body. Make it a habit to have enough sleep and to rise early. If you are already stressed out the day before, an incomplete repose takes over cumulative stress effects into your life at work and at home. Your frustration levels at work eventually rises, your brainpower falters, and your mood at home sours. You have no energy left for enjoying life.
3. Juggle your work hours
Why pack the freeways with all the other "9-to-5"ers when you can try a ten-to-six or an eight-to-four shift? Depending on your company's work policy, try to check out other shifts that fit your lifestyle. Choose one that would help you get rid of energy-depleting stress and allow you to lighten your highway woes.
4. Share your ride
It may be a hassle to coordinate your arrival and departure with another person or two, but carpooling is worth it. Studies show that ride-sharing lowers commuter stress significantly. With carpooling, there is less air and noise pollution, less traffic congestion, and you can relax more while someone else does the driving.
5. "Cocoon" in your car
Instead of getting worked up when traffic is at a standstill, utilize your time wisely. Listen to the radio or pop in some music tapes to take your mind off the stop-and-go driving and traffic tie-ups. If you like to read but just can't have time to flip pages of a book, check out books on cassette. Many libraries have full-length books on tape as well as abridged versions. You can even learn a new language or do some car exercises like shoulder rolls, neck extensions and tummy tucks to help you stay awake and relax.
6. Pillow your back and squirm
When you're standing, the lumbar area of your spine (the lower portion) normally curves inward, toward your abdomen. However, when you're sitting, it tends to slump outward squeezing your spinal disks and putting stress on them. According to back expert Malcolm Pope, Ph.D.,director of the Iowa Spine Research Center at the University of Iowa, it helps to support your back by tucking a rolled towel or a pillow in that lumbar section. In cases of longer drives, since sitting in one position for longer than 15 minutes gradually stiffens you even with a back pillow, make necessary adjustments for a comfy ride. For instance, you can try putting most of your weight on one buttock and then the other. Then, shift the position of your seat or your buttocks slightly. You may even try sliding down in your seat and sit up again for fun.
7. Workout after work
Since the evening rush is worse than the morning rush because of the compounded fatigue from the workday, it is best to wait out the traffic. Workout at a gym near your office or take meditation classes to relieve your stress. If you plan to go to dinner, see a movie or go shopping, try to do these things near work, delaying your departure enough to miss the maddening rush.
8. Give yourself a break
It may be a good idea to give yourself some day off from work. Many companies today offer compressed working hours or longer working days to give way to work-free days for you to unwind.
9. Move your office
If your job is a long drive ahead everyday, inquire at work if the company would allow you to work at home some days of the week or if you can work near your place. An alternative work schedule would make you feel less tense and in control thereby reducing stress.
10. Occasionally change your routine
An occasional change of commuting habits may be advisable too. Try walking or bicycling sometimes for a change. There's nothing like a good walk to ease tension especially when it means you don't have to get in your car and fight rush hour traffic.
By lessening the stress of getting to work, you are conserving enormous amounts of energy that may be lost over stressful commuting. It doesn't only leave you a lot more energy to do your job and become more productive but it also makes you feel good and gives you a good reason to always start your day right.
Published by Rachelle Arlin Credo