Tech: The US cities with the worst commutes to work

A new study looks at the relationship between commute length, income, housing prices, and college education attainment. Analyzing location...

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A new study looks at the relationship between commute length, income, housing prices, and college education attainment.

Analyzing location data from commuters in 933 metros with a population of at least 100,000, researchers from StreetLight Data found the places where residents travel the longest distances to work. In total, they looked at the median, round-trip journeys of approximately 20 million commuters in September 2017.

The primary goal was to study the links between three socioeconomic factors — income, education level, and rent prices — and commute length, according to Laura Schewel, CEO of StreetLight Data.

When looking at nationwide averages, there isn't a strong relationship between high-income, high-cost, college-educated neighborhoods and short commutes. But if you zoom into certain cities, there are correlations.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, for example, non-college-degree, low-income residents tend to have longer commutes than their college-educated, higher-income neighbors. According to the study, out of the three socioeconomic factors, having a college degree is most highly correlated with having a short commute.

While the study measured commute length for all types of transit (from biking to walking to driving), it doesn't look at how access to public transport correlates with commute length. However, Schewel does note that places with exceptionally long commutes tend to be in rural areas without access to major public transit systems.

There are a few caveats to the data. The places with the longest commutes are relatively small, and job opportunities might be limited — so residents drive to larger cities nearby. The study also doesn't consider people who lack smartphones or connected vehicles, people who work from home, or those who work in different places every day.

Take a look at the cities with the longest commutes.

15. East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Population: 172,936

Median rent: $1,325

Median commute distance: 14 miles



14. Gallup, New Mexico

Population: 57,295

Median rent: $613

Median commute distance: 14 miles



13. Aberdeen, Washington

Population: 57,780

Median rent: $720

Median commute distance: 14.1 miles



12. Morehead City, North Carolina

Population: 69,250

Median rent: $689

Median commute distance: 14.1 miles



11. Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Population: 51,785

Median rent: $589

Median commute distance: 14.1 miles



10. Pecos, Texas

Population: 10,362

Median rent: $614

Median commute distance: 14.4 miles



9. Hudson, New York

Population: 56,120

Median rent: $817

Median commute distance: 14.9 miles



8. Walterboro, South Carolina

Population: 40,560

Median rent: $684

Median commute distance: 15 miles



7. Espanola, New Mexico

Population: 37,571

Median rent: $677

Median commute distance: 15.7 miles



6. Brainerd, Minnesota

Population: 92,839

Median rent: $616

Median commute distance: 17.4 miles



5. Show Low, Arizona

Population: 82,527

Median rent: $760

Median commute distance: 18.2 miles



4. Berlin, New Hampshire

Population: 33,160

Median rent: $667

Median commute distance: 19.8 miles



3. Ocean City, New Jersey

Population: 96,685

Median rent: $1,076

Median commute distance: 26.6 miles



2. Ocean Pines, Maryland

Population: 50,375

Median rent: $1,411

Median commute distance: 29.2 miles



1. Bishop, California

Population: 4,787

Median rent: $824

Median commute distance: 70.2 miles



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