top of page

Calculator Reveals your Commute True Cost and What You Could Spend the Cash on Instead

The Commute Calculator


We have created an online test analysing each user’s lifetime of commute and providing them with tailored alternative solutions. Check the making off below or... 



Sexy things first: campaign results


The first week of its release, the Commute Calculator was on the Daily Mail, Metro, the Independent, the Mirror, the Telegraph, Sun Motors, etc.

Within 5 days, the Commute Calculator counted 36,000 users.

Following that success, the page was translated in 3 languages, hitting similar results in France, Germany and Spain.

Our solution: We used data journalism and data visualisation to create a simple infographic linking complex data points to qualitative research.

Once upon a time… an idea! by Isabelle Marchand


I first thought to create a commuter calculator when reading endless reports about Ford smart solutions for transportation, eBikes, car sharing schemes, semi private shuttles - in brief any experiment led by Ford to make transportation easier. As it was, it wouldn't have caught anyone's attention. Not that the content wasn't interesting… simply someone would have read 1 report, but certainly not the 12 of them. However those experiments were created for a reason: transportation is becoming a hurdle for everyone.

When "congestion costs Europe about 1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year.", without mentioning pollution, train delays, packed buses, etc, Ford experimentations could have been of interest to a whole lot of people, if only they were to realise they had a problem in first instance.

In marketing as in journalism, you always produce content for an audience, which directly led me to the main question: to whom those transportation solutions would be of interest? Who could be the main audience for such documentation?

Target the audience


In the UK, 81% of the 26.5 million working people commute to work"In London, 20% of commuters spend more than two hours a day travelling to and from work, which adds up to one working day a week. In Germany, 37% spend one hour a day commuting." As commutes are getting longer, people get unhealthy, lonely and are more likely to divorce. I had found my audience: unhappy commuters would be my target. People like… Me! The next step was therefore to rub salt in the wound, to then come up with a tailored solution.

Two points would personally push me to reconsider my commute: the time and budget I spend on it.


I know how much time it takes me each day, and how much money I spend by week. To consider another type of commute, I needed to have a clear overview of what my problem was. The real question therefore became: how much time and money my commute would cost me in my entire life? And as numbers always need context, I also had to find a general measure to refer to: was my commute better or worse than Europe in general?

Build the beast


To be a success, the Commute Calculator had to be visually attractive, simple to use and provide with a personalised analysis as well as tailored solutions.

I had therefore 3 parts to build:

1. Calculations​

  • Formula 1: how much money a user will spend in his lifetime of commute?

  • Formula 2: how much time a user will spend in his lifetime of commute?

  • Formula 3: how long was left for a user to work in his lifetime? (How long will he have to endure his commute for?)

  • Formula 4: How the user’s commute compares with the European norm?

2. Matrix of smart solutions

Ford alternative solutions for commuting were to be tailored to each answer to be relevant. Therefore it was important to select matching solutions to the user’s indication of time / budget / transportation mode.

3. Design

The commute calculator was to be visually attractive, but also easy to use, with not too many questions for people not to drop out before the end.

To get the average commuting time in Europe I had to go through a dozen of public reports that provided me with an average of 37.5 minutes per day. Same with budget, which I found was around 60420€ / £44520 per year.

To calculate a lifetime of commute I also needed the average European length of working time per year – 235 days - which I had to calculate myself by collecting each country data as all reports were unfortunately out-dated.

My last piece of data to get was the average number of years worked in a lifetime in Europe, 31.8 years.

Once all calculations up, I tested it on my very nice colleagues who provided me with the length of their commute. Some were based in the UK and some outside so I calculated in both Euro and Pounds (here just in Euros, not to bore you).

I have then built a first matrix, but one of my colleagues responsible of Ford mobility department built another more efficient one so I was more than happy to use it. She has a great sense of humour and dedicated herself to write amazing smart solutions descriptions.

In terms of design, here are my first drafts, which have been adapted by the programmer and his team to fit with online requirement:

And finally, here is the Ford Commute Calculator - have a go!


data visualisation datacrunchies co2 ema
bottom of page