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For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 18, 2021

Census Bureau Estimates Show Average One-Way Travel Time to Work Rises to All-Time High

Press Release Number CB21-TPS.29

MARCH 18, 2021 — A new report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau shows the average one-way commute in the United States increased to a new high of 27.6 minutes in 2019. The Travel Time to Work in the United States: 2019 report summarizes trends in travel time among U.S. workers between 2006 and 2019 using single-year data from the American Community Survey (ACS). The report then moves on to take a closer look at patterns in travel time along selected characteristics using 2019 ACS estimates.

Highlights from the report include:

  • In 2019, the average one-way commute in the United States increased to a new high of 27.6 minutes.
  • In 2006, the average travel time for the nation was 25.0 minutes. The increase of about 2.6 minutes between 2006 and 2019 represents an increase of about 10% over 14 years.
  • In 2006, 14.8% of commuters reported travel times of less than 10 minutes; this group declined to 11.9% by 2019. Conversely, the percentage of workers reporting commutes of 60 minutes or lon­ger increased from 7.9% in 2006 to 9.8% in 2019.
  • The majority of workers, approximately 57%, left for work between 6:00 a.m. and 8:29 a.m. Among this group, those leaving between 6:00 a.m. and 6:29 a.m. reported the longest average travel time to work at 32.8 minutes.
  • The longest average travel times were associated with various forms of public transportation. For example, workers who traveled to work by bus had an average commute of 46.6 minutes.

The new data presented in this report are based on the ACS sample interviewed from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019. ACS questions related to travel focus only on commuting and do not include nonwork trips. The average travel time excludes workers who worked from home in 2019.

No news release associated with this report. Tip Sheet only.



Mike Friedrich
Public Information Office

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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