And You Thought Your Commute Was Bad

A partnership of Slate and the New America Foundation.
March 6 2013 11:43 AM

What Places Have the Worst Commutes?

Average commute time by ZIP code.

If Slate’s Farhad Manjoo can’t persuade Marissa Mayer to allow Yahoo workers to work at home, perhaps the map above can. Created by WNYC’s John Keefe and based on data from the American Community Survey, it shows average commute times by ZIP code. In many places, commuters travel for nearly an hour to get to work. Hidden in the averages are the 600,000 “megacommuters” who travel more than 90 minutes to work.

The worst ZIPs can often be found in metropolitan areas with the worst traffic congestion, such as Washington, Los Angeles, and New York. However, traffic congestion doesn’t explain it all. People who rely on public transit have longer commutes on average than those who drive, according to census data.

Long commutes are a well-documented source of stress and unhappiness, not to mention pollution. The average one-way daily commute in the U.S. is about 26 minutes.

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