D.C. Has Some Of The Longest Commutes In The Country. What Help Is Available? - WAMU

How Long is Your Commute?

The D.C. region has one of the longest commutes in the country. Here's how the individual trips break down.

In 2017, those who drove to work logged 102 hours sitting on the road due to traffic congestion. That’s the equivalent of more than four days — time that could have been spent pursuing hobbies, meeting up with friends, connecting with family or sleeping.

For Scott and others, spending hours a week in transit is a tradeoff for being able to afford a home.

“I wanted a decent, single-family house, and what was affordable was up that way,” he says. This echoes a Brooking Institute study that found commutes tend to be longer in metropolitan areas where housing is priciest.

But long commutes can take a toll — on health, wealth, happiness and time. And employers and employees alike are looking for solutions.

Commutes Are Getting Longer

The number of people in the District increases substantially in the daytime hours, leaping from an estimated 705,749 to well past a million as commuters pour in from the suburbs and exurbs of Maryland and Virginia. Increasingly, those commuters are frustrated with the trip.

In 2019, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) released its triennial State of the Commute report, a survey that examines commuting patterns. More than a quarter of respondents (28% in total) said their commute was more difficult than it was the previous year — an increase of about six percentage points from the 2016 survey. Overall, about half of respondents said they were satisfied with their commute.

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