Super-commuting on the rise and in the news

If you were offered a dream job in a city far from home would you want to uproot and resettle? For a growing number of people, living and working in two different time zones is a daily reality, no resettling required. Super-commuters, people who work more than 180 miles from their home, usually commute by plane or train and expand urban work-forces across time zones.

In 2012, the Rudin Center released The Emergence of the Super-Commuter, a report on super-commuter demographics and trends. The findings highlight that super-commuters are more likely to be younger (29 years old and under) and middle-class than the average worker.

Citing our report, Forbes profiled three super-commuters this week. These commuters travel from their homes daily, weekly, and bi-weekly via plane and train over 180 miles each way. These super-commuters sacrifice time and sometimes comfort to maintain lives in cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia while contributing to the workforce in New York City and Boston.

Future planning decisions, as our 2012 report notes, should consider the implications of growing numbers of super commuters, who link cities more than 200 miles apart. What will increasing flexibility for travelers and in the workplace mean for your city?

Will pay phones become charging electric vehicle stations?

Photo via user Susan Sermoneta

Over the last decade, cell phones have become ubiquitous in cities across the world, creating less and less of a demand for the public pay phone. According to the Department of Technology and Telecommunications, there are still a little over 10,000 public pay phones on New York City sidewalks. The operational contracts for these kiosks expires in October 2014 and the city has the opportunity to transform the remaining kiosks to meet 21st century needs.

Earlier this year, the city sponsored a design contest to re-imagine these 20th century relics for the mobile 21st century. Several contest winners included electric vehicle charging stations as part of their design.

The electric vehicle is on the rise in the United States, electric vehicle sales are the fastest growing sector of the automotive industry and the number of E.V. models on the market has quadrupled in the last year. One challenge facing E.V. owners is the number and location of charging stations, especially in urban areas.

Converting kiosks into charging stations with two to three parking spaces each would be one potentially creative way to reuse the kiosks, which already have electric power. Finding charging stations can be a challenge for E.V. owners: Jay Friedland, legislative director for Plug in America, said that in one California town, E.V. owners use municipal owned Christmas tree light wiring to recharge.

Conflicting jurisdiction and interests of city agencies could complicate the process, which would involve formal applications and approval from the city. Earlier this year, New York Governor Cuomo announced plans to bring 3,000 charging stations to the state over the next five years and put 40,000 E.V.s on the road in that same period. Converting even a percentage of New York City’s pay phones to charging stations would meet statewide goals and increase access to charging for eager owners.