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Poll: If traffic was reduced, what would you do with your extra time?

Saturday - 10/22/2011, 7:09am  ET

WASHINGTON - Washington area residents spend a lot of time stuck in traffic. Whether it's an hour or two (or maybe more) each day, you would probably like some of that time back.

So what would you do with the extra time if traffic congestion were somehow reduced?

That question was asked in the latest WTOP Beltway Poll. Nearly six of 10 residents (58 percent) would spend the extra free time on personal activities. More personal time is followed by spending more time with a spouse or partner (43 percent) and more time with their kids (38 percent).

How people would allocate their time, as you might expect, depends on their family status and the length of their commute.

Married workers with kids at home are the most likely to want to spend more time with their children (60 percent), and more than half (54 percent) would spend more time with their spouse.

Overall, one third of those surveyed would spend more time with friends (32 percent) and close to a third (30 percent) would spend more time at the gym or take part in physical activities.

The poll, also found that about one-in-five (19 percent) would try to get some more sleep. And one-in-10 (11 percent) would actually spend more time at work if their commute wasn't so long. Married workers without kids are the most likely to say they would spend more time at work (26 percent).

Complete results of the poll:

If traffic congestion in the Washington D.C. area were significantly reduced, how would you spend your additional time?

Total Va. Md. D.C.
640 240 300 100
More personal time 58% 59% 58% 57%
More time with spouse/significant other 43% 47% 40% 37%
More time with kids 38% 43% 35% 29%
More time at gym/physical activity 30% 31% 27% 31%
More time sleeping 19% 20% 18% 14%
More time at work 11% 10% 11% 12%
Don't know 2% 1% 4% 1%
Refused 1% 2% 1% -

The D.C. Metro phone survey was conducted Oct. 10-13, 2011 among 641 adults ages 18 and up. The survey included representative samples of 240 in Virginia (Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford counties); 301 in Maryland (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George's counties) and 100 in the District of Columbia. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.8 at 95 percent confidence.

Heart + Mind Strategies is a non-partisan market research consultancy based in Reston, Va.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)