Options for Commuting and Mixed-Use Facilities Enhance Quality of Life in Merrimack Valley

by Admin | October 29, 2015 | 0 comments

Whether armed with XM radio, tuned into NPR or ready to dig into those French audio classes, Americans have found a way to deal with increasingly long commutes. According to a study done by the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics, people with commutes over half an hour each way experience higher stress and anxiety levels and lower life satisfaction and happiness than those with shorter commutes. Most Americans spend about 45 minutes commuting to and from work each day, adding up to around 195 hours and $2,600 spent each year, as stated by the Citi Thankyou Premier Commuter Index. 14% of Americans reported they’ve switched jobs to shorten their commute and nearly two thirds indicated they’d even accept a lower salary if they could cut their commutes in half. 

Is your company on trend with the increased importance of commute times? Does it rate commute time and accessibility as a “nice to have” on a long list, or as a core benefit (on par with base compensation and benefits) that promotes employees happiness and well-being. You won’t be alone in your choice – comparable firms and even competitors are increasingly choosing locations near mass transportation. 

Of course situating your business near mass transportation is not always realistic, based on available commercial space or affordability. Another way to promote shorter commute times besides proximity to bus and train routes is leasing in mixed-use facilities, which are growing in popularity due to their sustainability and abundance of features. NAIOP Research Foundation revealed office tenants prefer the amenity-rich, mixed-use centers over single-use office parks by a margin of 83% to 17%. The 24/hour a day feeling builds a sense of community as the distance between work, home, and social life all shortens.

Mixed-use facilities bring additional advantages such as nearby options for dining and entertainment, and nearby businesses benefit: for example, restaurants can sustain business throughout all hours of the day as opposed to the limited business hours of office parks since people are constantly around. There are indications that mixed-use development contributes to public safety as well; employees can feel secure while walking to their cars at night after a long day of work. Because these locations are so pedestrian and bike-friendly, employees and residents can feel encouraged to walk instead of drive.  Regular walking reduces the health risks posed by lengthy commutes and has been proven to increase happiness. In addition, the decreased reliance on cars reduces traffic and pollution.