Chart of the Day: How Long Is Your Daily Commute?

Using US Census data, Bloomberg recently published an analysis of the time we spend commuting in the US. Washington DC tops the chart of large metro areas (>10 counties; >60,000 people), with an average daily commute of 73.4 minutes. Minneapolis, MN metro area comes in seventh, with 53.8 minutes daily.


Bar graph with seven cities, showing average commuting times from 53.8 up to 73.4 minutes. Title: How long is your daily commute?

Bloomberg chart: Daily commuting time by metro area


The article also describes how urban sprawl is connected to higher commuting costs, with estimates of ~$15,000 per year for some areas:

“You would like to be close to a place that has high wages or high amenities but you don’t want to pay the high rents,” Monte said. “Rather than paying for higher rent, you can pay that in commuting time.”

Apparently, many workers taking residence in the satellite neighborhoods of San Francisco and the New York-New Jersey metro area also prefer the commute over higher rents, according to the index.


What impacts your commuting choices? Have you elected to reject a job that was too far away? Chose a cheaper transportation mode, like bicycling? Do you take a more scenic route some days, or maybe stick to main roads when the weather is bad? Commuting choices are complex, and often heavily weighted toward quantitative factors like minutes and dollars, but that’s not the whole story. What’s your time worth?

Jenny Werness

About Jenny Werness

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Jenny (she/her) is a carfree, bicycling, tree-loving St. Paul resident, with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. She believes that our rapidly changing climate should be of utmost concern to all of us. Board of Directors of, 2019-2024; Executive Committee - Content Manager.