Americans spent an average of 25.2 minutes to get to work in 2016, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Average travel times are calculated by dividing aggregate travel times in table B08136 by the number of commuters in table B08301, and both tables break the data down by driving alone, carpooling, transit, and walking. Other modes, such as taxi, motorcycles, and bicycles, are lumped together, which isn’t very useful as there is no reason to think that the would take about the same amount of time.
People who commuted by transit took nearly twice as long as people who drove, spending an average of 50.1 minutes vs. 25.4 minutes for people driving alone. People who walked took just 12.3 minutes, suggesting that people who walk live well under a mile away from their work. Carpooling added about 2.6 minutes to the times required to drive alone.
One reason transit takes so long is because it is slow. According to the American Public Transportation Association’s 2016 Transit Fact Book, transit speeds average just 15.3 mph. Driving in most American cities is twice that fast. Continue reading