What is a reasonable commute?

Marchetti’s constant is the average time a person spends commuting each day.

The Italian physicist Cesare Marchetti posits that people have a daily travel time budget of around one hour. When the travel time from home to work decreases, he believes, people might gradually choose to live farther away from work, so that their travel time stays about the same.

For working people, spending an hour a day traveling would mean a half-hour commute each way. That sounds reasonable to me. 

By contrast, in my experience it is quite stressful to have a very long commute—which I’ll define as an hour or more each way. That’s particularly true if your commute requires you to make certain transit connections.

If you work a traditional, 9–5 job, and you combine two or more travel hours with eight work hours each day, you have very little time left during the week to spend on leisure. It can be tempting to conjure extra time by cutting short your sleep or by not exercising much, both of which are harmful in the long run, as they build a foundation for chronic stress.

What do you consider a reasonable commute time? If you have a very long commute, how does that affect you?


— Peter

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