In order to support technological progress, many people are willing to endure great hardships.
For example, most Americans are willing to drive for 30–60 minutes every day on their commute, just so that they can help create a market for new types of transportation [*].
One might imagine that a person in the hour-long-commute situation would just move closer to their job, but local zoning restrictions (Figure 1) often make this impossible.
[*] For example, the car, the diesel car, the hybrid car, the electric car, the “ride-sharing” car (actually just a taxi connected to a phone app), and the elusive and currently-hypothetical “self-driving” car.
Here are two proposed ways to help people live closer to their jobs:
- Start a new “night watchman training” business with extremely comfortable suspiciously-apartment-sized rooms, and charge people a rent-sized amount of money for on-the-job training / courses for students. (If the students somehow fail to stay awake, they can just keep paying for the course as long as they want.)
- Start a “sleep study clinic” (Figure 2). Normally, this is a legitimate business that diagnoses sleep apnea and other issues. Our modified version would be similar, but cheaper to set up, since it would not require any expensive medical equipment: in fact, the only piece of equipment supplied is a 5-dollar stopwatch (included with the apartment). When a resident is about to go to sleep, they can start the stopwatch, and when they wake up, they will have a vague idea of how long they were asleep. Naturally, this would be a paid service (costing about the same as the prevailing rent in the local neighborhood).
This is a plan that some developer should definitely try, just to see what happens.
PROS: Might help people rethink their established notions of what a “normal” commute should be.
CONS: Some overzealous “spirit of the law, not the letter of the law” lawyers and city council members would definitely put an end to a scheme like this. Also you might go to prison and/or owe somebody a bunch of money in fines.