5 Ways to Improve Your Commute

Here at Shotl, we know that innovative transport technology helps cities to function better. The increased reliability and accessibility that comes from On-Demand transit has wide-ranging benefits for users. In addition to making our cities more sustainable and less polluted places to live, using public transport frees up time that would otherwise be spent driving. 

The average American, working a full-time job, spends roughly 4.35 hours a week commuting to and from work. That adds up to over 200 hours a year! Many choose to look at this time as a burden but when thought about differently, a great deal can be achieved in 200 productively spent hours. Demand Rapid Transit (DRT) decreases both waiting and commuting time which subsequently increases the reliability of a service. With increased reliability, it is reasonable for commuters to view their commute time as a credible window in which to get productive and gain perspective for the day ahead. With this in mind, we take a look at how to boost output and wellbeing while on your daily commute.

1. Strategize your day 

Though many people view their morning commute as a mundane experience; best tolerated with the help of their favorite playlist or the pleasing feedback loop of a mobile game, there are alternatives. A paper from Harvard Business School found multiple benefits “to using your commute as an opportunity to transition into your work role”. By defining what you have to do and beginning to visualize the structure of your day you are developing skills of positive prospection that help you to be more successful and happier at work. So, although it might be easy to think of travel time as that last moment of “freedom” before entering the workplace it is much more productive to view it as a transition period. Similarly, your journey home can be used for “taking stock”, reviewing what you achieved during the day and resetting for the following day.

2. Learn from the best

There are thousands of incredible podcasts out there covering every subject imaginable. Why not supplement your transition into work mode by gaining insight from some of the leading figures in your field? On the subject of Future Transport alone, you can find episodes featuring planners and academics who are right at the forefront of the latest advancements within the transport sector. Weekly podcasts like Scot Wingo’s Vehicle 2.0 are engaging and thought-provoking and inspire a wellspring of ideas to set you up for your day ahead.

3. Meditate 

Your daily commute may not seem like the best place to cultivate a greater sense of calm but if you are pushed for time and feeling stressed it does offer a moment to reset and harness a little clarity. Just ten minutes of guided-meditation while en route can help ease anxiety, build mental energy and improve focus; all contributing to your overall wellbeing. The health benefits of such practice is now widely documented within the scientific community and for those just starting there are many ways to begin. Check out this piece by New York based writer Chris Plehal which details his experience using popular meditation app headspace whilst commuting.

4. Connect with commuters

Mindfully noticing others en route who are sharing similar experiences can lighten your mood and increase empathy, so how about engaging with them?  When we share space within proximity to strangers we customarily prefer to remain in solitude even though socializing increases happiness. A report from the University of Chicago, "Mistakenly Seeking Solitude", looked specifically at the issue of socializing on public transport and concluded that “pro-sociality seems not only to benefit others but also to benefit oneself”. So how can we make use of our shared space and look for likeminded connections? Colorado-born and London based Jonathan Dunne once famously tried to hand out “Tube-chat” badges as a means to encourage interaction amongst users; he received mixed feedback. Perhaps the key is to just remain helpful and open to communication with fellow commuters, contributing convivially to the communal space.

5. Start learning a new language

Learning a new language helps to improve your memory, increase attention span, enhance ability to multitask and expand your cognitive abilities. Time spent commuting lends itself perfectly to the initial stages of language study because repetition and constant practice are crucial. If you build your learning around your schedule and integrate language acquisition into your daily commute it becomes habitual and also renders you engaged and ready for the day ahead. Leading language institution Cambridge Press suggests that it takes between 100 - 200 hours of learning to advance from one level to the next; so those 200 hours of commuting could be put to good use in learning a new language. 

Shotl is helping cities all over the world to become smarter and more efficient places to live. By using data generated from both users and drivers, our technology helps to enhance the overall user experience. The result? A more efficient transportation system that allows you to make the most of your daily commute. 

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