Our cities are choked with commuting workers. The latest research from Travelwise NI suggests commuters spend an extra hour a day travelling during school term time.
“With people now having to leave for work earlier and get home later, it is far from surprising that 34% of those surveyed said that if they were able to reclaim that hour lost each day they would like to spend it in bed. Twenty one per cent said they would prefer to use this time to exercise while 20% said they would rather have an extra hour of time with their family. Nineteen per cent stated that if they had this time they would spend it working”.
Statistics like these highlight our dependance on car focused transport and hint at the impact of commuting time on our work, health and pockets. Is there a way that commuting time could be put to better use? Travelwise NI would encourage commuters to leave the car at home, even for one day a week in favour of more sustainable modes of transport. With congestion levels being an issue across the north, Travelwise is being supported by the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) in encouraging local Councils to do more to help promote sustainable forms of transport.
NILGA President, Cllr Helen Quigley said: “We have become increasingly reliant on our cars for transport when in fact there are more sustainable options available to the majority of us. In many of our Council areas, road traffic is the main contributor to air pollution throughout Northern Ireland”.
I say that there is another option, a way to make a positive impact on our local environment. Flexible home-working policies are a growing trend in the UK and represent a greener working practice. Many of us would flinch at the prospect of trying to work amidst the familiarity of our noisy homes or our in the midst of our own distracting clutter. Garden offices are a solution which provides a dedicated – separated – working environment. The commute (down the garden path) is green and free. Communication technology allows this kind of remote working for NI’s buoyant creative industry but also extends its benefits to senior staff and business owners in all market sectors.