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Your Take: How Long Is Your Commute?

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Miniature GridlockCNN Money played with the 2008 Census data released on Monday and discovered that the nationwide average commute is 25.5 minutes. If you work five days a week and fifty weeks a year, that’s 12,750 minutes spent in the car. For the math whizzes out there, that’s 212.5 hours or 8.85 days.

The average American spend over a week sitting in his or her car driving to or from work. It’s no wonder driving is more dangerous than flying, we spent over a week in the car just getting to and from work. This doesn’t count the time we spend on vacation, going out, whatever.

The longest commute belonged to citizens of East Stroudsburg, PA where many of the residents commute the 60 miles to work in NYC, spending 40.6 minutes a trip. The shortest belonged to folks of Grand Forks, ND where the average commute was a scant 14.3 minutes each way.

When I used to drive to work, mine was about 25 minutes to the home office each way. At one point I supported a client around the Washington DC area and my commute ranged anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours if the weather or traffic wasn’t cooperative. I passed the time listening to some audiobooks, sports talk radio, and/or NPR shows.

How long is your commute? And what do you use to kill the time?

(Photo: ethandb)

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71 Responses to “Your Take: How Long Is Your Commute?”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Thanks to our recent move my commute just dropped from 50 minutes down to about 15. Once our new office is finished in December it will probably only be about 10 minutes.

  2. MommyMel says:

    Live in Staten Island, work in midtown NYC the commute is roughly an hour. Can be more when there is traffic (matinee Wednesdays) or less (summer months, no school, 3rd graders stop driving). I have 3 methods of transport: Staten Island ferry then train or bus, bus over Verrazano then train through Brooklyn to Manhattan or my favorite and most expensive: the express bus. On the bus I pass my time by sleeping. On the train/ferry I catch up on my magazines.

  3. Andrew says:

    How do you drive 60 miles to NYC in 40 minutes?

  4. Andrew says:

    Mondays a colleague who commutes in from Sacramento picks me up at a BART station near my house and we get to the office (24 miles) in about 30-35 minutes thanks to the carpool lane. Monday evenings he stays in town, so he drops me at a BART station near his weekday place, and it takes me about 20 minutes to get back to where I left my car, then 5-10 minutes home. I’m rarely home less than an hour after leaving the office, but I spend 20 minutes of it reading or doing crossword puzzles, so that’s cool. Tuesdays-Thursdays I alternate driving with a guy from my neighborhood who works in the same office park. It takes us about 35 minutes in the morning and close to an hour in the evening, but there’s no toll, and we save half the expense of driving solo, plus we get to use the carpool lanes. Friday, the Sacramento guy picks me up at BART again, and we go over the bridge to work, then he takes me back to BART or, depending on whether he’s going straight back to Sac, he might drive me back to the BART station where I left my car.

  5. Zyzzyx says:

    Not too bad of a commute here, mid-sized city in SE Washington state.

    Right at 10 miles, driving or cycling. Driving its 20 minutes in the morning, 25 in the evening. Riding I take my time, about 40-45 minutes ride time, but also figure in ~10 minutes to cool down and change clothes before/after riding.

  6. Traciatim says:

    under 10 minutes if I take our vehicle. It’s about 45 minutes on the bus, but a good chunk of that is walking to the bus stops.

    I usually bus.

  7. MinnesotaSaver says:

    My commute is 25 miles across a metro area. There is no viable option for bus or train. It takes 35 minutes in the morning and 45-60 minutes at night. There is always more traffic going home. Accidents and weather complicates both directions.

    I used to be able to walk to work in less than 10 minutes, but I got laid off. Grrr.

  8. Jill says:

    Walk to work, 10 minutes when I’m dragging in the AM, 7 when I’m anxious to get home in the PM :)

  9. I only live about 7 miles from work, but I pass an elementary school, and the buses slow me down. It takes me about 20 minutes, by far the shortest commute that I’ve ever had. I generally listen to my iPod or to a sports radio show to kill time.

  10. Jake says:

    Door-to-door I consistently average 75 minutes one-way. If there is an accident or significant construction then that can jump to 2+ hours, but that is only once or twice a month at most.

  11. Wil says:

    I have a pretty consistent 27 minute commute each way. It has really never been a problem for me. I spend that time mentally transitioning from one set of responsibilities to another. Consequently, my wife and family have rarely heard me complain about what’s happening at work. They like that and I do too!

  12. Scarit says:

    17 minutes door-to-door, 0 minutes in car. Being able to commute by bicycle is truly awesome.

  13. Anno ny says:

    4.8 miles. It takes 10-15 minutes, depending on lights and traffic.

    I ride a scooter except during winter. I don’t listen to anything while scooter. In the winter I listen to NPR (talk or classical, depending on the mood).

  14. Jessica says:

    Around 20 minutes each way for me. My husband and I work together so we usually chat the whole way about whatever is going on in our lives.

    When we drive separately, I listen to audiobooks. I am a total fan of audiobooks. Usually I hate commuting at all but since I started listening to books on the way, I am almost happy when something slows me down like an accident or bad weather because it gives me more time to find out what happens next in my book…

  15. Stephen - NYC says:

    Does being unemployed mean I have no commute? Well, I live in flushing, Queens. I would take a bus to the 7 train and then depending on where I had to go, either switch at Grand Central for the Lex trains or go to Times Square and get the 7th Ave trains and head south. On a good day, it’s 1 hour and 15 minutes to the Ground Zero area. On a bad day, well, don’t ask. Going home, same time-frame. And due to people with earbuds, and the noise they generate, I have to use headphones so I don’t hear what to me is the same as fingernails on a blackboard.
    So, if anyone is looking for an OpenVMS System Administrator here in NYC, let me know. Thanks.

  16. Amber says:

    15 minutes on good days, 30 minutes on bad days. The worst day ever, I believe it took me about 45 minutes. I always listen to NPR on the drive to/from and I don’t feel that it’s a waste of time at all. I catch up on a bit of news that I probably wouldn’t otherwise have absorbed. It’s definitely how I stay informed about the world.

  17. Frank says:

    My commute is 45 to 50 minutes one-way. Listen to XM – usually Bloomburg or some talk radio.

  18. Amanda says:

    20 minutes, door to door. I live in Chicago, in the Bucktown neighborhood on the blue line el. It’s extraordinarily convenient for us to not only get downtown, but to the airport too (which is great since I travel so much for work!)

  19. My commute is 20 footsteps – from one end of my “railroad flat” apartment to the other, where my office occupied 1 1/2 rooms.

  20. Carla says:

    My current commute is a few steps away from my bedroom to my study/office. Prior to that, it was about 15 minutes via car and 1 hour via public transportation each way. Because of the long public transportation commute, I drove most days.

    When I start looking for a job again after disability, there’s no telling how long my commute will be. I now live in Portland and I’m hoping I can stay in the city.

  21. Jesse says:

    I’m lucky to only have to commute about 15 minutes each way. I used to drive about 50 minutes one way,and double that on the way back because of traffic.

  22. My commute is just 5-10 minutes by car depending on when exactly I leave. What stinks is finding parking by my job since there is alternate side parking two days a week.

  23. Brian says:

    My commute in Hartford, CT is 30-35 minutes (traffic dependent). I typically schedule phone meetings for that time with Europe or Asia (their late morning / early evening.)

  24. Deby says:

    My commute is about 15 minutes, although with all the road construction lately it’s been closer to 25.
    7 minutes flat back when they offered overtime on Saturdays starting at 6am ;)

  25. Guy in San Antonio says:

    I sold my 2600 sf house to buy a 1600 sf house (for the same money) in a more expensive area that is less than 10 minutes from work. My commute went from 45-60 minutes to 10 or less. Also, I am now in the center of town and can travel to any other part of the city in less time and fewer miles. The mileage on my car is down about 50%.


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