Economy

The Worst Commute Time in America

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In some big cities, before the COVID-19 pandemic, it would take hours to make a round trip into the city during rush hours. Some people took trains and buses instead. But a hard core of drivers remained, sitting in their cars, paying tolls, burning gasoline and listening to the radio and podcasts. The pandemic briefly emptied cities and sharply cut commute times. Some people decided to work from home and will never be commuters again. For many people, though, the long commute is back. Which city has the worst commute time in America?

The average one-way commute time has not entirely returned to 2019 levels. It reached 28.7 minutes that year. That dropped to 25.6 minutes during the pandemic but rose to 26.4 minutes last year. (Each state’s city with the worst traffic.)

According to Yardi Kube:

While remote work has definitely left its mark on commuting, as many people gave up the idea of going to work completely when they made a switch from an office to an at-home workspace during the pandemic, others are either required or simply prefer to embrace the return to the office initiative that started happening once the major threats of the COVID-19 pandemic began to diminish.


New York City has the longest and worst commute time: over 40 minutes one way. It is the largest city in America by far, with 8.8 million residents. The third largest city, Chicago, has the second largest commute at more than 33 minutes.


These are the cities with the longest commute times:

  • New York (40.7 minutes)
  • Chicago (33.5)
  • Philadelphia (31.5)
  • Boston (30.5)
  • Los Angeles (30.2)
  • Washington (30.1)
  • Oakland (29.6)
  • San Francisco (29.5)
  • Long Beach (29.4)
  • Miami (29.0)

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