Americans commute earlier and longer: study Tue Oct 17, 8:33 AM ET
Americans are leaving home earlier to get work, fewer are walking, and more are driving alone, according to a study of commuting trends released on Monday.
The study, published by the Transportation Research Board, found people are also taking longer to reach their workplaces, with the number of people with commutes lasting more than 60 minutes growing by almost 50 percent between 1990 and 2000.
Alan Pisarski, author of the study 'Commuting in America III,' said the average national travel times among the nation's 128 million commuters grew to 25.5 minutes in 2000 from 22.4 minutes in 1990 and 21.7 minutes in 1980.
He said latest census data also showed that more Americans were leaving for work between 5 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. with men making up the majority of early-morning commuters.
"It's much more a product of the transportation system than the fact that they have an early starting time," Pisarski said.
"Before 8 a.m. it's very much a guy thing. The earlier, the more male it is and after 8 a.m. women are actually the majority of the commuters."
The Transportation Research Board is a division of the National Research Council, an independent adviser to the federal government and others.
Pisarski, who published similar studies on commuting in 1987 and 1996, said fewer people were walking to work.
After studying census data from 1990-2004, he found the number of Americans walking to work had dropped to 2.9 percent in 2000 from 3.9 percent in 1990 and 5.6 percent in 1980.
More people were driving alone to work, with an increase of almost 13 million solo drivers in the 1990s.
Commutes were also getting longer, with the proportion of workers traveling less than 20 minutes dropping to 47 percent in 2000 from around 50 percent.
But Pisarski said American commuting trends were about to change, with baby boomers reaching retirement age and more people starting to work from home. The percentage of people working from home had risen to 3.6 percent from 3.3 percent in 2000.
He forecast that future trends in commuting would be influenced by the growing number of newly arrived immigrants in the workforce.
"Unlike most native-born Americans or immigrants who have been in the United States for more than five years, many new immigrants either carpool, bike, walk, or use public transportation for their daily commute," Pisarski said in a statement.
In yet another way (that makes just about every way) Americans are moving bass-ackwards. How can this once-great country be so stupid today?
You said it........this once great country. It is my opinion that things are getting worse, and will continue to. What bothers me is when I am driving to work in my Yaris hatchback, there are soooo many large SUV's, with one person driving them. I live in an area where many people have money and drive the large SUV's. The new homes are selling $700,000 to $900,000. How much energy are they using to live like that?
What incentive do Americans have to be smarter? Stupid people are constantly rewarded socially. Especially when it comes to the road. Buy an SUV and get high fives from everyone except people on this site. If you buy a minivan because you need the size you get ridiculed. It's the stupid feeding off the stupid. It applies to other areas besides just the SUV's, but that is the main topic of concern for this board I beleive.
I think people have lost their ability to think for themselves. I'd need all night to get into that though.
__________________ w00t, finally above the EPA rating!
My commute went from 15 min to 1 hour one way a year or 2 ago. Part of living in such a crappy economy in WV is that to make money you have to change jobs(or forced to because of layoffs) so that means take what you can get when you can get it. I turned down a job that paid slightly better but would have been a 1:30 drive. Not worth the extra money for that 30 minute longer drive time.
I can't really move I am in a paid for house and it isn't worth half as much as the cost of a house near where I work. That and I will probably move jobs again in a year or so and that would mean moving again....
But then again houses here don't cost 700k that seems pretty nuts to me, I can buy a house for 50k and my house is worth 30k. One of the good things about WV no building codes so housing is a lot cheaper
Yeah, I don't really like the sate of society right now. People take longer commutes and work longer days then in the past. Plus more dual income families. People need time to relax, have some fun, and spend some time with friends and family.
2008 EPA adjusted:
Distance traveled by bicycle in 2007= 1,830ish miles
Average commute speed=25mph (yes, that's in a car)
Guilty as charged. That's another reason why I am here. My wife and I couldn't afford to get a home near to where I work, so now my commute has doubled to close to 40 miles one way. GasSavers helps me to take the 2 (good traffic) to 4 (bad rainy day traffic) hours lost per day and turn it into an optimization project.
I was looking on the net and found this graph (I love a good graph). The US has shorter commutes then most countries in europe.
I have somewhat a dissagreement with that graph.
Here in Finland the average comute time is 40 minutes as the graph says , but....
Most of the population lives in 3 main cities.
In those cities the public trasnport systems are highly efficient.
You literally only have to wait 10 minutes for the next bus to come and 6 minutes for the next metro (electric train).
The busses here cover over 90% of the roads.
So even now ., the majority of people do not even own a car.
In the countryside true farmers obviously need vehicles , but if you live in a small town , you still might not own a car.
Short distances can be cycled and the busses do the rest.
Bikes are huge here.
Because of this even on friday noon after rush hour the air is still clear , no visible smog.!
So yeah , 40 minute comute time , but by and large , its done in shared public transport.