The Money Value of Time
I simply don’t believe the numbers. Matt’s commenter Paulie Carbone encapsulates my objection nicely:
I think people are radically overstating how much they dislike traffic. 18% are willing to pay over $30 to save 15 minutes? If you commute to and from work, and work 5 days a week, 50 weeks per year, that’s at least an extra $7,500 per year.
And who really values their time that highly? If you think 15 minutes is worth $30, that’s $120/hour. Would these same people not work for anything less than $120 an hour?
I make a decent living and insisted on the ability to work from home at least one day a week before taking my present job. I find driving 45 minutes average each way a ridiculous waste of time. But I wouldn’t pay $120 a day ($20 x 3 x 2) to avoid it.
The problem with these surveys is that most people are innumerate. (Which explains, for example, why a significant number of people spend more on child care, commuting costs, lunches, dry cleaning, and the like than they actually net from an unsatisfying job because the family “needs the money.”)