Visualizing the Average Commute Time in U.S. States and Cities

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by visualcapitalist

Visualizing the Average Commute Time in U.S. States and Cities

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

The average person is awake for 15.5 hours per day, but once you subtract hours committed to work, eating, chores, personal care, and errands, there’s only so little much free time leftover.

That’s why the amount of time spent commuting, either in a car or via transit, can be a massive difference maker towards a person’s quality of life.


Throughout the United States, the average commute time works out to about 26 minutes one-way.

However, as today’s infographic from TitleMax shows, the average commute varies considerably between individual states, and also between major cities as well.

In South Dakota, a state with fewer than one million people, congestion is not a problem for most. The state is home to the shortest average commute in the country at just 16.6 minutes one-way.

Meanwhile, as you may imagine, New York is the polar opposite of South Dakota for getting to work. The Empire State has the longest average commute in the country, which is double the length at 33.6 minutes.

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Every city is different, which means that data can have high amounts of variability within each state.

New York again is a great example for this: NYC has the longest average commute in the nation at 34.7 minutes, but go upstate and Buffalo actually has the shortest average commute for all major cities at 20.3 minutes per trip.

Here are the 10 shortest commutes in the country, for major cities:

Rank City State or District Avg. Commute (Mins)
#1 Buffalo NY 20.3
#2 Columbus OH 21.8
#3 Hartford CT 22.3
#4 Milwaukee WI 22.3
#5 Las Vegas NV 22.5
#6 Memphis TN 22.5
#7 Virginia Beach VA 22.6
#8 San Diego CA 23.0
#9 West Palm Beach FL 23.0
#10 Cincinnati OH 23.2

Many people living in places like Buffalo or San Diego are able to hop to their place of the work in 20 minutes or less, giving them a little extra flexibility with their free time in comparison to bigger cities in the country.

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Here are the 10 longest commutes in the country, for major cities:

Rank City State or District Avg. Commute (Mins)
#1 New York City NY 34.7
#2 Long Island NY 33.3
#3 Washington DC 32.8
#4 Newark NJ 31.1
#5 Chicago IL 30.8
#6 Boston MA 30.4
#7 Oakland CA 29.9
#8 Riverside-San Bernardino CA 29.8
#9 Baltimore MD 29.4
#10 Atlanta GA 29.2

While it’s surprising to see that Los Angeles didn’t make it onto the list of cities with ultra-long commutes, the largest city in California does have the distinction of being the most congested city in the world.

It’s there that citizens spend an unfortunate 104 hours each year stuck in traffic jams.


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