Planning a move? Test your new commute with Abogo (before you commit).

If you've ever commuted by car, you know what a pain it can be. Recent studies have shown that people tend to underestimate the impact a long commute has on their happiness. While a big house in the suburbs may feel more like success, that extra hour (or two) you spend in traffic every evening adds up. Fast.

So, if you're thinking of moving, it pays to consider your transportation costs. That's exactly what Abogo helps you do.

Abogo was developed to help you uncover the hidden transportation costs of living in areas that are more (or less) accessible. Their website uses a mix of household-level and regional data to deliver accurate estimates of what people in your neighborhood spend on getting around. 

It's incredibly easy to use. Just type in the address you're interested in. Abogo generates a "dollars per month" rating for transportation costs associated with that specific address, along with a regional average that lets you compare your address to others near you. The carbon footprint of all that transportation is calculated too. They recently added a really neat tool that lets you track the impact of gas prices on that "dollars per month" rating. 

Drawbacks: Some of Abogo's built-in assumptions may not apply to your household, so you may not actually be getting an accurate estimate of transportation costs for your commuting patterns - especially if you don't own a car, or don't use it as often as the tool expects you to. I've found the most useful feature to be the comparison of your selected address with the local area: it lets you determine which areas are cheaper and more convenient to get to, and make a choice of where to live that really works for you over the long term.

Here are a couple of sources, as requested. If you search for "commute happiness correlation" you'll find more articles and perspectives than I've listed here, though many refer to the same study as #1 does. 

  1. http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/03/30/commuting/ which refers to the actual study, here: http://ideas.repec.org/p/zur/iewwpx/151.html
  2. http://www.npr.org/2011/10/19/141514467/small-changes-can-help-you-thrive-happily