Commuting is the process of travelling from a place of residence to a place of work. Students who are enrolled at a college or university but who live off-campus are also typically referred to as commuters.
Commuting is largely a phenomenon which exists in industrialised societies, where access to modern modes of travel such as cars, trains, busses and bicycles has enabled people to live far from their workplace. Prior to the 19th century most people lived within walking distance of their workplace.
The advent of modern commuting has had a large impact on life. It has allowed cities to expand to sizes which were previously not practical, and it has led to the proliferation of the suburbs.
Many large cities or conurbations are surrounded by commuter belts, also known as metropolitan areas, where people who work in the city or conurbation live. These regions are often called commuter towns, dormitory towns, or bedroom communities.
As urban sprawl pushes farther and farther away from central business districts, new businesses can appear in outlying cities, leading to the existence of the reverse commuter who lives in a core city but works in the suburbs.
Commuting, especially in the absence of carpooling, is often regarded as a major contributing factor to traffic congestion.
The word 'Commute' is derived from the reduced or 'commuted' fare paid by the purchaser of a rail season ticket, where a lesser amount is paid, in advance, for a ticket covering journeys for a period into the future. In general, the longer the validity of the ticket, the greater the discount will be.
- US Commuting Averages (2002) (http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/american_community_survey_acs/001695.html)
- Some Commuters are travelling from France to London (http://www.guardian.co.uk/france/story/0,11882,1167366,00.html)
- A King's College Student's Daily Commute (http://www.colingregorypalmer.net/london/journal/2004-11-01-daily-commute.html)