Sometimes, highways become parking lots, trains are late, and everyone’s struggling to get to work on time. But who really is struggling in the so-called “rat race”? What are the best and worst cities for commuting in the U.S.? We’ve studied the top 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the United States and found the average commute time by city to figure out who has the worst commute. Here are the best and worst commuting cities in America!
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Which City Has the Longest Commute to Work in the U.S.?
The small community of East Stroudsburg, PA, has an average commute time of 38.6 minutes. Nestled in the hills of northern Pennsylvania, the area is about an hour and a half away from New York City and about two hours away from Philadelphia. This metro area has a fairly small population, however, with about 76,460 people total.
Out of the top 100 most populous metro areas in the U.S., the worst place for commuting by far is the greater New York City area (New York-Newark-Jersey City), with an average commute of 36.3 minutes. It has one of the worst commutes in America, with 21.4% of the population having a commute of more than an hour. (Of course, that number doesn’t quite capture how awful commuting to Manhattan can be at certain times of the day.)
Which City Has the Shortest Average Commute to Work in the U.S.?
The shortest average commute time in the U.S. is 15.3 minutes in Great Falls, MT. Hours away from any major metropolis, it’s likely that many of the jobs are right in town.
Out of the top 100 most populous cities, the one with the best commute time to work is Wichita, KS, which only has a commute time of 19.5 minutes. Only 2.5% of those in Wichita commute more than an hour to work.
What Is the Average Commute Time in America?
According to the 2013-17 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census, the average one-way commute time is 26.4 minutes for all Americans.
This traffic time to work has been inching upward in the past few decades, with 1980s workers having nearly an hour of extra time every work week compared to today’s workers. According to NPR, nearly 14 million people in the U.S. have a commute of more than an hour to get to work. Urbanization is a huge contributor to some of the worst traffic in the U.S., but, perhaps as a result, more than 5% of workers are now working from home.
From more at-home work to more reliable public transit, there’s a lot local governments can do to tackle some of the worst traffic. Cities in the U.S. are becoming more abundant and more populous, so the issue of commuting time will likely continue to pop up again and again.
The Average Commute Time by City
Here’s a ranking of the top 100 most populous metro areas by average commute time. See how well your city fared on our list!
|Rank||Metro Area||Mean Travel Time to Work in Minutes|
|1||New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ||36.3|
|3||San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||32.8|
|4||Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||32.1|
|7||Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA||31.4|
|12||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||30|
|13||Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX||29.7|
|15||Urban Honolulu, HI||29.1|
|16||Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL||28.9|
|19||San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||28.2|
|20||Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||28.1|
|24||Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL||27.2|
|25||Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||27.1|
|27||Austin-Round Rock, TX||26.8|
|31||Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||26.6|
|32||Baton Rouge, LA||26.6|
|37||San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX||26|
|38||Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL||26|
|41||New Orleans-Metairie, LA||25.8|
|42||San Diego-Carlsbad, CA||25.7|
|43||St. Louis, MO||25.6|
|44||Charleston-North Charleston, SC||25.4|
|45||Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL||25.4|
|46||Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN||25.3|
|48||New Haven-Milford, CT||24.9|
|50||Portland-South Portland, ME||24.8|
|53||Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV||24.5|
|55||North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL||24.5|
|57||Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA||24.3|
|59||Louisville/Jefferson County, KY||23.9|
|60||Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT||23.9|
|61||Durham-Chapel Hill, NC||23.8|
|64||Augusta-Richmond County, GA||23.7|
|67||El Paso, TX||23.4|
|71||Colorado Springs, CO||23.3|
|73||Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI||23.1|
|76||Kansas City, MO-KS||23|
|77||Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR||22.9|
|81||Oklahoma City, OK||22.7|
|83||Salt Lake City, UT||22.4|
|85||Greensboro-High Point, NC||22.4|
|86||Boise City, ID||22|
|88||Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI||21.8|
|91||Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY||21.5|
|98||Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA||20.3|
|99||Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA||20.2|