Zeitgeist: Engineers' cars amid rising energy prices

I've been noticing some changes here in the Ivory Tower/Crystal Palace parking lots--there are fewer cars, more newer small cars, and more motorcycles.

Though of course the sample size is small and narrow (buncha engineers!), it seems clear that people's habits are changing where they can, from what they drive to even if they drive.

Some examples:

  • More people carpool, meaning fewer cars total in the lot

  • The new cars I've noticed in the lot are the new econo-class--Yaris, Fit, Scion, etc.

  • Motorcycles and scooters have exploded. (Granted, it's Summer!). I'm seeing double or quadruple the number of 2-wheelers daily.

  • From the human-powered front, cycling's on the upswing for those who live near the site. Again, this is weather-dependent, but I'm seeing cycles in every nook and cranny in the engineering buildings.

  • Public transit. Lextran ridership is at record levels, and looking at bus unloading by Bulding 005 the other day, it looked like a clown-car--the thing basically deflated because of all the folks piling out of it. If I lived in Lexington, I'd definitely be taking a long, hard look at riding the bus.

The above are all sane (if painful) responses to commuting needs: Gas isn't getting any cheaper, and we need to shift our habits to accomodate. Granted, there are downsides: Bikes and motorcycles don't work too well in bad weather. Carpools are inflexible--no running errands during lunch or making your own hours. Bus routes are inefficient, turning a 20 minute drive home into an hour or more.

I look for LXK to explore more work-from-home or remote-office initiatives as well--we're not going to a 4-day work-week, that's for sure!

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