Clocks Fall Back in the USA, tomorrow. Daylight Saving Time

What would happen if Congress abolished daylight saving time (or kept it going all year long)?

Blogger and cartographer Andy Woodruff decided to visualize this with a great series of maps.

The goal of these maps is to show how abolishing daylight saving time, extending it all year, or going with the status quo changes the number of days we have “reasonable” sunrise and sunset times.

Reasonable is the sun rising at 7 am or earlier or setting after 5 pm, as defined by Woodruff.

This is what the map looks like under the status quo of twice-yearly clock shifts. A lot of people have unreasonable sunrise times (the dark spots) for much of the year:

Daylight saving time as currently observed.Andy Woodruff

Things would change if daylight saving were abolished (that is, if we just stuck to the time set in the winter all year). It’s better, particularly on the sunrise end:

If daylight saving time were abolished.Andy Woodruff

Here’s what would happen if daylight saving were always in effect. The sunrise situation would actually be worse for most people. But many more people would enjoy after-work light.

If daylight saving time were always in effect.Andy Woodruff

Note: The length of light we experience each day wouldn’t actually change; that’s determined by the tilt of Earth’s axis. But we would experience it in times more accommodating for our modern world.

Be sure to check out the interactive version of these maps on Woodruff’s website.

In 2015, Stromberg made the compelling case that the daylight saving time shift into the evening should be extended year-round. Having more light later could benefit us in a surprising number of ways:

  • People engage in more leisure activities after work than beforehand, so we’d likely do more physical activity over sedentary leisure activities. Relatedly, studies show that kids get more exercise when the sun is out later in the evening.
  • Stromberg also cites some evidence that robberies decrease when there’s more sun in the evening hours.
  • There could be economic gains, since people “take short trips, and buy things after work — but not before — so a longer DST slightly increases sales,” he writes.

A “Thank You” to VOX and Andy Woodruff.