Rail Talk: Why You Should Take the Train to Work
July 31, 2015
The daily commute to work is very few people’s idea of a good time. Sharing the road with loud, angry drivers as they navigate their way slowly through heavily congested traffic would be bad enough to do just once.
Yet most of us subject ourselves to it twice every single day, for lack of a better option, and as our metropolitan areas thrive, it seems that there are more and more commuters on the road.
Read on to learn how you can turn your stressful daily commute into a productive or peaceful time by choosing to take the train instead of driving your car. By becoming a train commuter, you’ll also help the economy and environment while you’re at it.
Benefits to Commuting by Train
Perhaps we can’t eliminate the daily commute but we can certainly reinvent it. Commuter rail — a passenger-rail service designed to carry travelers between city centers and outlying suburbs — is a wildly popular form of transportation in some of America’s largest metro areas, as well as in major urban regions around the world.
For all its benefits, this public transit system has yet to reach its full potential in the States, due perhaps to sometimes poor route planning, inconvenient access, inadequate onboard comforts, or all of the above. Why let the past dictate the future?
It’s time for commuter rail to make a splash right here in Florida. We’re working hard to revamp the lives of millions of daily commuters in central Florida and along the East Coast Corridor. Readily accessible public transit that’s fast, efficient and comfortable can rejuvenate minds as well as cities.
While we’re confident that commuter rail service will profoundly change your daily commute for the better, you don’t have to take our word for it. The benefits speak for themselves.
Trains Mean Big Savings
For many of us, driving to and from work each day makes up the vast majority of the miles we put on our cars. Once you’ve eliminated that commute, you’ll find that you’re saving big money not just on fuel, but also on upkeep and repair costs. With less wear and tear on your car, you’ll also enjoy fewer repair bills and a longer lifespan for your vehicle.
Your automotive insurance costs — usually a steep monthly bill — could go down as well. Depending on what else you use the car for outside of work, it might make fiscal sense to switch to a cheaper pay-per-mile insurance plan. Contact your insurance company to see how you can save even more money each month.
In fact, once you no longer need your car for your daily commute, you may be able to do without it entirely, especially if you’re a multiple-car household. This option won’t be right for everyone, but you might just be surprised at how easy life can be with one less vehicle to worry about. After all, there’s a reason that car ownership is considerably lower in urban areas with excellent public transportation. No matter what the specifics are, your wallet will thank you when you switch to commuter rail.
Trains are Low-Stress, High Relaxation
In a recent study, researchers at the University of East Anglia in the U.K., analyzed an incredible 18 years of data on almost 18,000 commuters. Their conclusion won’t come as no surprise to many readers: Driving to work each day is making people seriously unhappy. They found that the more time people spent in their cars, the more their psychological wellbeing suffered. What’s more, the research team was surprised to learn that commuters consistently feel better when using public transport options.
It’s no secret that mental health is tied to physical health. Stress, for example, is a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. High stress levels have a negative impact not only on quality of life, but also on life expectancy.
When you commute to work by train, it’s not only better for your psychological wellbeing, it’s also safer. Keep in mind that long hours behind the wheel lead to lowered reflex times for both you and others on the road, especially after an exhausting day at work. Taking public transportation cuts stress tremendously and eliminates the dangers of driver fatigue.
All in all, taking the train offers a safer, healthier and more relaxing alternative to your daily car commute. You may even gain a new admiration for the beautiful, sprawling landscape that surrounds you. Trains let you unwind and take in the scenery that most drivers are too distracted to fully appreciate.
Trains Give You Free Time
When you take the train — whether commuting to and from work, heading to a baseball game or checking out a show downtown — it effectively adds free hours to your busy day. Driving requires you to focus on the road ahead, keeping your hands and mind preoccupied for the duration of the commute. When you hand off that duty to someone else, your time can be used for better things.
Commuting by train gives you the perfect opportunity to get ahead on work via your laptop. All Aboard Florida trains offer Wi-Fi, effectively replacing your car with an on-the-go office. When you choose to travel by rail, you can leave your job a bit early, beating the rush-hour crowd and finishing your final tasks on the go.
While taking the train gives you more time to work, you can also use that free time in other ways. You can take care of personal matters, from returning phone calls to making a grocery list, or even learning a new language. When you get home from work, you’ll be more focused on your home life and less stressed about your to-do list.
Of course, there’s no need to be “productive” during your journey. Why not kick back with a book or catch up on your favorite TV show? It’s your life and your time: So use it any way you want to. You won’t get that sort of privilege behind the wheel of your car.
Trains Are Fast
Did you know that the average American spends a whopping 38 hours per year stuck in traffic? That’s the equivalent of a full week’s worth of work, yet you’re not even getting compensated for it.
This number is merely the nationwide average — the problem is even worse in major metropolitan areas, where long, empty stretches of rural landscape are excluded. The figures for Miami, for instance, are rapidly approaching 50 hours annually. With urban populations on the rise, congestion is an issue that shows no signs of going away on its own.
The solution? Smart investments in infrastructure and public transportation. Express train service between Florida’s largest and busiest cities means that commuters can enjoy speedy and reliable transit. With efficient track lines, few stops and no danger of traffic jams, there’s nothing keeping you from your destination. After all, your time is valuable. Why waste it on the road?
Trains Are Safe
We don’t want to alarm anyone, but statistically speaking, driving is one of the most dangerous ways to travel long distances. While airplane and boating disasters make the nightly news more often, the fact remains that road-based vehicles are responsible for far more deaths per passenger mile. The New York Times has estimated that the chances of death in a car accident may be as high as 1 in 84 over the course of one’s lifetime.
Trains, by comparison, have an incredibly strong safety record across the world, and they are only getting stronger as technology advances. What is the train travel lifetime risk factor? One in 156,169 — you’re about twice as likely to be struck by lightning.
Why take the risk in your car when you can get to your destination safer, faster and cheaper by taking the train? Who wants to navigate crowded highways, much less in a downpour? When you choose to ride the train, you’ll enjoy a safer commute to work and the peace of mind that comes with it.
Trains Are Environmentally Friendly
In today’s world, everyone is looking for ways to help the environment. By taking the train instead of driving, you are taking a small step that makes a big impact. You can feel good knowing you are doing your part.
Rail travel may be one of the oldest forms of transportation still in use today, but it remains one of the most energy-efficient. When speaking of fuel efficiency in mass transit, the unit we use is “passenger miles per gallon”, or PMPG. The term describes the number of passengers that can be moved a single mile on a single gallon of fuel. It’s an important distinction.
For instance, say you have a train that gets four miles per gallon. It might appear inefficient on a surface level, but if this train can carry hundreds of passengers four miles on one gallon of fuel, it’s burning far total less energy than if these hundreds of passengers each drove their own car three miles instead. As commuter rail has a consistently higher PMPG than standard automobiles, it’s the smart choice for a busy travel region.
Heavily traveled roads and highways require constant maintenance — particularly in the form of laying new asphalt and/or concrete as damage occurs — so they tend to send considerable amounts of toxic runoff into public waterways. Rail networks don’t have this issue at all.
Finally, while even trains can’t be entirely emissions-free, the emissions that they do give off are relatively low in volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Therefore, they are less harmful than those of buses and other diesel-powered alternatives.
Consider the millions of Floridians alone that drive themselves to work on a daily basis. Every one of their cars spews pollution into the air, day in and day out. If just one train can take hundreds of vehicles off the road, imagine the positive impact. If even a small percentage of residents made the switch to a rail commute, we’d all breathe a little easier.
Trains Benefit Your Community
Taking cars off the road does lead to cleaner air and less noise pollution, to be sure. But these aren’t the only benefits that investing in commuter rail service brings to local communities.
By decreasing the stress associated with travel and increasing mobility options for many residents, rail service stimulates local economies, promoting growth and tourism while keeping more fuel taxes within the community. Areas with easy access to commuter rail will enjoy lower road congestion as well as boosted property values. They’ll also provide new job opportunities for residents.
Traveling by rail is the right choice for you and for your community. Commuter rail is an effective and sustainable way to get around, one that continues to pay dividends in the long term.
All Aboard Florida Transforming Your Commute
It’s hard to dispute the benefits of rail travel. We’ve seen how commuting by train can save you time, money and stress, all while making a positive impact on your community and the environment at large. So why aren’t more people doing it each day? Data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2010) suggests that in 43 states, more than three-quarters of all commuters drive to work, and they do so alone, without a carpool companion.
The biggest reason for the commuter build-up has long been accessibility (or a lack of it). Because rail systems come with an initial investment cost, it has been difficult for commuter rail to really take hold in many urban areas. Add to that the prevalence of car ownership, and well-maintained roads, and you can see why rail hasn’t been in high demand. Put another way, few commuters have had easy access to speedy and comfortable trains that actually get them where they need to go. They have not experienced the many benefits of rail travel. That is, until now.
With the All Aboard Florida initiative, we’re transforming the daily commute of millions of Florida residents. Beginning in 2017, our route will offer fast and efficient service across the Florida East Coast Corridor, linking together Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. The entire distance can be traversed in just three hours — just as fast as flying, when counting airport security waits. By using pre-existing tracks whenever possible, we can keep the environmental impact of new construction at an absolute minimum.
Easy and relaxing rail commute is simply not an option for many Floridians at the moment, and All Aboard Florida is working to change that. Our trains will run hourly throughout the day, and passengers can expect to enjoy a wide range of amenities and comforts, including:
- Meal and beverage service
- Onboard wireless Internet access
- Wide, comfortable seats
- Plenty of luggage space
- Online reservations
The benefits of our project go beyond what individuals will enjoy. All Aboard Florida is projected to create tens of thousands of jobs, have a positive economic impact of $6 billion on the state of Florida over the next eight years and add nearly $3.5 billion in state GDP for many years to come. Learn more about how All Aboard Florida is revitalizing Florida’s economy.
Investing in Florida’s future isn’t just the smart choice, it’s the right choice for the gorgeous state that we’re proud to call home. To learn more about our mission and our progress, visit AllAboardFlorida.com today. We’ll see you on the train!