Baltimore is the smallest city on the list, with just 622,000 residents, but that doesn’t mean residents don’t have to put up with long commutes. Baltimore also has more workers living in the city than any other city in the country, which could help increase working hours. Here are the 10 cities with the worst commuting times in America, based on data from the US Department of Transportation’s American Community Survey.
The US Census has found that, despite its clogged reputation, this California city belies its status as one of the most liveable cities in the country. According to Inrix, San Francisco has the second-highest average commuting time per capita of all metro lines, and the average city dweller spends more time at a standstill than any other city on the list, with an average commuting time of 4.5 hours.
Philadelphians spend about an hour a day commuting, giving them an average commuting time of 4.5 hours a day, depending on which route they drive. New Yorkers have the second longest journey: 30 percent of people choose to use public transportation. Some residents in the city make up for this by enjoying the best quality of life in the country and the cheapest housing prices, according to Inrix.
Most people living in Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood also work in the same area. Those lucky enough to live and work outside the city center have significantly shorter distances, according to Inrix.
To determine which cities have the worst commutes, ConsumersAdvocate.org’s experts used data from the American Community Survey and calculated the average commuting time for each city. The average commute time for a city is calculated by dividing the total commuting time by the total working population of the city (excluding those working from home). Though not everyone has a long commute, about 20 percent of American workers have one – 45 minutes or more, according to Inrix.
In a tie, the average commute time for each city and the city’s entire working population was used as a tie-breaker.
They tend to be large, densely populated, have a robust public transport system and have longer average journeys. By contrast, the average commute time for the city with the highest labor force, New York City, is 58 minutes.
But gridlock on highways and city streets is not the only reason people who work in the Windy City have long commutes. The sprawling suburbs, far from the job-rich downtown, also behave more like sprawl than a city with a large labor force.
This might explain why the city has one of the worst commutes in the country for people using public transport, where more people travel to work alone than by bus. A 2014 study found that people who take the commuter train to work are more likely to travel than commuters who commute by car and take buses. Chicago has the second-highest proportion of commuters who rely on public transportation after New York, the study found.
According to an analysis by TomTom, congestion on the subway is typically far above average, and Worth has been named the second best city for drivers. According to a 2014 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), people avoid public transportation to get to work by subway. Those who commute by public transport or other means of transport earn less than drivers and commute to work every year.
Against this backdrop, for the second year in a row, the Daily Beast has identified which cities have the worst commute rates and which roads stretch across the city. One agency, Riverside Transit Agency, has only 2 stars on Yelp, with many citing a lack of public transportation and high parking and parking fees.
To figure out America’s “Highway to Hell,” we started with newly released data from traffic monitoring company INRIX, which analyzes data from 4 million vehicles nationwide using GPS devices and smartphone applications. We assessed the 50 worst metro trains by area traffic since 2010, using the percentage of time it takes to navigate the streets of an area during rush hour compared to uninterrupted travel time. The average commute time between Los Angeles and New York City is increasing, reaching an average of 27.2 minutes each way in 2014.
With so much time devoted to getting to work, it is not surprising that 15.9% of working Americans choose short distances and proximity to public transportation as the top criteria for choosing where to live. In other words, workers spend an average of 27.2 minutes each way to work. Americans rank cities with the worst commute times among the 50 worst metro areas in the country when it comes to where to rent or buy a house. Americans rank their preferred metro area by commute time.