An Analysis of Commute Travel Times in an International Context

Extreme commuters, defined as those traveling more than 90 minutes each way to and from work, are one of the fastest growing market segments in the United States. The availability of affordable housing, the concentration and specialization of employment, and transportation access are but some of the factors contributing to this phenomenon. This phenomenon is occurring at a time of unprecedented energy and environmental concerns and there is much interest in slowing or even reversing this trend. Who are these people and what are the socio-economic and demographic factors that are associated with long commutes? What is happening in other countries where land use densities are higher and transit systems are more prevalent? This study aims to answer these questions by recognizing that commute lengths are a manifestation of people’s residential and work location choices. Using data sets from the United States, Switzerland, and India, international comparisons of commute length market segments are made to better understand the prevalence and socio-economic composition of long duration commuters, defined as those commuting 60 minutes or more each way in this paper. The descriptive statistical comparisons and multinomial logit model estimation results confirm hypotheses that lifecycle stage, personal attributes, and household characteristics are strongly correlated with commute length. More importantly, the study findings raise interesting and important questions regarding the traditional notion that higher densities and levels of transit use are associated with shorter commutes. The percent of long-duration commuters is found to be the lowest in the United States, where land use densities and transit use are among the lowest in the world.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 19p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 86th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers CD-ROM

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01047132
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 07-3363
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 8:03PM