Think you have a long commute? Try living in Beijing, China. The average one-way commute is 52 minutes!
It’s not much better in some lesser populated cities. In Shanghai, the average one-way commute is 51 minutes. In Guangzhou, it’s 46 minutes. The average one-way commute for everyone living in a China city is 28 minutes.
To put these numbers in perspective, New Yorkers have extremely long commutes and commute about 48 minutes each day.
Chinese commuters are a lot like most of us. They have two choices. They either pay high housing costs to live near urban centers and closer to their jobs. Or they live farther from work because housing is cheaper.
China has different methods they use to manage the exceptional amount of commuter traffic. And they do it differently than we do in the United States.
China is actively trying to limit commuting, or essentially forcing people to public transit or remote work arrangements.
One way they do this is through road space rationing. China limits the number of people who can commute on any given day. Since they need to cut traffic, they tell you if you can commute via car on certain days. Some examples include only letting certain license plates on the road during designated days or restricting your commuting days by last name.
According to SHRM, Chinese cities also “use big data strategies to figure out when different segments of the population should go to work to achieve optimal transportation results.”
China believes these measures, probably considered harsh here in the US, will reduce pollution and decrease the number of cars heading into the larger cities daily.
With so many advancements in the tech we work on (cloud collaboration and storage, SaaS programs, etc.), it has made it easier for China to carry out the commuting restrictions.
Is this the right approach for the United States? Who knows. With cities now looking for similar measures like congestion pricing and commuter benefits to encourage public transportation, it will be interesting to see how the commute changes in the next few years.
There are no restrictions on commuter benefits. Whether you have one employee or 10,000, you can sign up and have workers start saving up to 40 percent on their commutes.
Learn more about commuter benefits, download the 101 Guide.