The higher your educational qualifications, the longer your work commute. That, in essence, is the finding reported in a working paper on mobility in one of India’s most congested cities, Bengaluru, by researchers from the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC).
Interviews with 470 people in five sectors — government, IT, industrial, trade and commerce, and the unorganised sector — were used to determine commuting distances and modes. “An educated person will search for jobs where his or her qualifications fit. This may result in fewer options nearer their homes,” said Kala S. Sridhar, Professor, Centre for Research in Urban Affairs at the ISEC, who carried out the study, along with Shivakumar Nayka, a doctoral student.
The researchers found that married men have a longer commute. While single men are ready to live in paying guest accommodation close to their workplace, their priorities change once they get married. Men are also likely to travel longer distances than women.
Unlike people with higher educational qualifications, those in the unorganised sector without degrees work within 5 km of home.
The commute to work required 42.45 minutes for about 10.84 km. This is an increase from around 40 minutes in 2001. Peak hours add on average six minutes to the commute one-way. Over 95% working in government, or in trade and commerce, move in peak time, while in the industrial sector, 66% of workers have peak-hour travel. That figure falls to just 10% for IT and 6% for the informal sector.
Also, 41.91% of commuters used public transport, and a quarter used two-wheelers. Over 10% of commuters walked to work, highlighting the need for better pedestrian infrastructure, the authors of the study said.