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America’s Commute to Work Is Getting Longer and Longer

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the growing trend of "super commutes" - commutes of 75 miles or more - in the United States, driven by factors like rising housing costs and the rise of hybrid work arrangements. It examines how this trend is impacting workers' lifestyles and commuting experiences.

🙋 Q&A

[01] The American Worker is Making Peace with a Longer Ride

1. What are the key factors driving the increase in super commutes?

  • Rising housing costs have prompted many people to move farther away from city centers
  • The staying power of hybrid work arrangements means workers don't have to commute to the office every day

2. How has the share of super commutes changed over time?

  • The share of super commutes (75 miles or longer) has grown by nearly a third since 2020, according to research from Stanford University

3. What are some examples of cities seeing big increases in super commutes?

  • Washington D.C., New York City, Phoenix, and Dallas have seen some of the biggest increases in commutes over 75 miles each way

4. How are workers adapting to these longer commutes?

  • Some workers, like Craig Allender, are willing to tolerate longer commutes (63 miles in his case) since they only have to go into the office 3 times a week
  • Others, like Heather Adams, look forward to activities like listening to audiobooks during their 75-minute each-way commute

[02] The Super-Commute Compromise

1. What demographic groups are more likely to choose to live farther from their offices?

  • Younger employees and high earners (those making over $250,000) are choosing to live farther away from their offices
  • The average distance to work rose from 10 miles in 2019 to 27 miles at the end of 2023

2. How has the movement away from urban centers progressed over time?

  • The movement away from urban centers has progressed over decades, starting with suburbanization in the postwar economy
  • It has been accelerated more recently by technological advances that enabled more work-from-home

3. What are some of the challenges and tradeoffs that super commuters face?

  • Stephanie Shui's 50-mile commute to Manhattan is grueling, even though she only goes in 3 days a week
  • The costs of tolls and parking can add up significantly for super commuters

4. How are some employers helping to address the challenges of super commutes?

  • Some employers, like Inteplast Group, offer vanpool services to ferry workers from long distances to their workplaces
  • This helps retain employees who may otherwise be lured away by work-from-home arrangements at other companies
Shared by Daniel Chen ·
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