Monday, January 28, 2019

Commuting in the USA

The average American will spend over one year of their life commuting to work. For most Americans that year will be spent sitting alone in a car. More than three-quarters of American commuters drive to work alone.

CityLab has used 2017 commuting data from the American Community Survey to map how Americans get to work. The Great Divide in How Americans Commute to Work includes a number of maps showing the percentages of people in different metro areas who commute using the different transportation options. These maps include maps showing the number who drive alone, the percentage who carpool, use public transit, cycle and walk. It also includes a map showing the percentages of Americans who work from home.

In total the average American spends 408 days commuting to and from their workplace. However the average commuting time for the residents of Liguori, Missouri is just 1.2 minutes. This is quite a lot shorter than the national average commuting time. If you want to know what the average commuting time is in your zipcode area then you can use Auto Accessories Garage's interactive map of Average Commute Times.

If you enter your commute time and zipcode into the map you can find out how your commuting time compares with that of your neighbors. You can also discover how your commute compares to the average in your city, state and in the whole country. The Average Commute Times map uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A couple of years ago Mark Evans used the Google Maps API to create a hypnotic visualization of commuting flows, showing the distances and 'journeys' that American's make to and from work. Using the ACS Commute Map you can zoom in on any U.S. county and view an animated map showing where people live and work.

Mark Evans' maps don't show the actual journeys that commuters make but does give a great sense of how town and city centers suck in commuters from surrounding suburbs. The data for the maps comes from the American Community Survey. You can learn more about how the map was made from this data on Mark's blog post ACS Commuter Data Visualizations. Mark's ACS Commute Map was originally inspired by Alasdair Rae's mapped visualizations of commuting in the Bay Area.

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