Here is a report from The Economist on the "Perils of Commuting." It seems that long commutes increase the chances of divorce.
And here is a report that compares auto commuting times with transit commuting times from the recent NHTS. According to these data the average U.S. auto commute in 2009 was just under 23 minutes while the average transit commute was about 53 minutes.
Lavish public subsidies have not succeeded in "getting people out of their cars" but persist like all such policies because, once in place, they have constituencies that politicins find almost impossible to neglect.
But who ever thought of transit policy debated as a "social issue?"