Commentary

Commutes: Best of the Worst

The Census Bureau just released new figures for commute times. Turns out New Yorkers endure the longest average commute (38.4 min). Here’s how the best of the worst stacked up: 1. New York 2. Chicago 3. Philadelphia 4. Riverside 5. Baltimore 6. Washington, DC 7. San Francisco 8. Oakland 9. Los Angeles 10. Boston Some may be surprised that LA was only ninth worst. However, Los Angeles still leads the nation in, for example, highest congestion index and most hours stuck in gridlock (52 per year). Commute times have actually remained fairly constant over the years. As congestion mounts, people choose to live in work in different areas. This freedom of mobility helps keep commute time increases under control. Of course, zoning and other limits on growth can harm that. An interesting related pointââ?¬â??examined here by Joseph Perkinsââ?¬â??is how growth controls affect housing costs.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.