The 50 worst commutes in America, ranked

The New York metro area had the worst commute, according to US Census data. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Greater New York has the longest daily commute to work, according to the 2017 American Community Survey.
  • The top 50 worst commutes in the United States range from 25.3 minutes to 37 minutes, each way.
  • Some studies show time added to a commute translates to poorer performance, less satisfaction with work, and more stress at home.
  • Commuting data include where people work, when their trip starts, how they get there, and how long it takes. Here are the 50 cities with worst commutes in the US.
  • Visit for more stories.

Everyone may feel like their commute is the worst at times.

People with long commutes tend to pay more for gas, typically get less sleep, have more fat, and are less happy than people who don’t, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

A half-hour commute adds up to 125 hours spent commuting every year (using a 50-week, five-day schedule as the baseline).

Across the United States, some areas are definitely getting a rougher deal than others.

We’ve ranked the top 50 worst commutes in the country, using data from the 2017 American Community Survey.

50. Deltona – Daytona Beach, Florida.

Deltona, Florida. Michael Rivera / Wikimedia

Average trip to work: 25.3 minutes

The City of Deltona took things into its own hands after new developments and increasing traffic caused frustrated drivers to ignore speed limits and take local roads.

The city decided to release a Traffic Calming Handbook outlining how to reduce excessive traffic and speeding.

49. Greater New Haven, Connecticut.

New Haven. John Moore / Getty

Average trip to work: 25.4 minutes

Despite spending millions of dollars on improving the area, including new train cars, a new rail line, and a completely redesigned highway interchange, the area’s transportation infrastructure is still failing to meet the needs of the city, the New Haven Register reported in October.

48. Minneapolis – Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Minneapolis. Scruggelgreen/Shutterstock

Average trip to work: 25.6 minutes

According to Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Twin Cities metro area has more available jobs than workers, so more than 242,000 people commuted into the Twin Cities from outside the seven-county region in 2014.

47. St Louis, Missouri.

Average trip to work: 25.7 minutes

While the city still makes the ranking for worst commutes in the US, its population is declining. The city even started selling single-family homes for $US1 this year to save the Rust Belt town from decay.

46. Richmond, Virginia.

Average trip to work: 25.7 minutes

Ridership on trains and buses in the city has dropped by more than 20% since 2013, according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch.

Fears around security and the low cost of driving to work in a spread-out region have been two major factors for the drop.

45. New Orleans, Louisiana.

Average trip to work: 25.8 minutes

Commuters using public transport dropped from 13% in 2000 to 6% in 2017, according to The Data Center. But the share of bikers in New Orleans rose to 3%, giving the city the fifth-highest share of bike commuting of the largest 70 cities in the United States.

44. Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston. Bill Ward’s Brickpile via flickr

Average trip to work: 26.2 minutes

Between 2009 and 2017, pedestrians and cyclists were more likely to die in the Charleston region than anywhere else in South Carolina, especially if they were people of colour, The Post and Courier reported.

43. San Diego, California

Average trip to work: 26.3 minutes each way.

San Diego Magazine put together some tips on commutes to avoid in the area.

42. Providence, Rhode Island.

Traffic heading into Providence. Getty Images

Average trip to work: 26.3 minutes

I-95, which connects Miami to Maine, runs straight through the Rhode Island capital.

41. Jacksonville, Florida.

Jacksonville. City of Jacksonville, North Carolina

Average trip to work: 26.3 minutes

Jacksonville has nine major bridges to get commuters to work, taking them over rivers, canals and the Intracoastal Waterway.

40. San Antonio, Texas.

Average trip to work: 26.5 minutes

According to the US Census Bureau, 79% of San Antonio drivers commuted to work alone in 2016.

39. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh. Chuck LIddy/ Raleigh News & Observer/ MCT via Getty Images

Average trip to work: 26.5 minutes

As bad the average is – it could be worse. One local couple run a restaurant in Wilmington, Delaware and drove 292 miles (round trip) every time.

38. Birmingham, Alabama.

Average trip to work: 26.6 minutes

Interestingly, and definitely not helping daily commute times, 52% of city-based jobs are held by non-residents, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

37. Santa Rosa, California

Santa Rosa. Bob Carey/ Los Angeles Times/ Getty

Average trip to work: 26.7 minutes

The city in California’s wine country has a population under 200,000.

36. Detroit, Michigan.

Average trip to work: 26.7 minutes

This might seem like a long time every day, but it could be worse. In 2015, Detroit man James Robertson made headlines due to his 21-mile walk to and from work, which no doubt took a lot longer than 27 minutes.

35. Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Average trip to work: 26.7 minutes

In 2018, only 1% of all commuters used public transport to get to work, according to Business Report.

34. Phoenix, Arizona.

Average trip to work: 26.7 minutes

According to the Arizona State Climate Office, Phoenix is sunny 86% of the time, so at least the daily commute is pleasant.

33. Greater Austin, Texas.

Austin. Philip Lange/Shutterstock

Average trip to work: 27 minutes

Here are some tips from Austin traffic reporters: Understanding Austin’s toll road system and staying on top of construction could pay dividends.

32. Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

Lehigh Valley. Alex Potemkin/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

Average trip to work: 27.2 minutes

The area is home to two Amazon fulfillment centres, and a few large healthcare networks.

31. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh. Melissa Ross/Getty Images

Average trip to work: 27.3 minutes

Pittsburgh had 1,704 bike commuters in 2010 and 2,964 in 2016. But with 77.5 % of commuters driving alone, cars are still by far the most popular transport choice, Pittsburgh City Paper reported in 2018.

30. Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte, North Carolina. Streeter Lecka / Staff/ Getty Images

Average trip to work: 27.3 minutes

Here’s a list of five of the worst commutes in Charlotte, courtesy of the Charlotte Agenda.

29. Greater Sacramento, California.

Sacramento. Cassiohabib/Shutterstock

Average trip to work: 27.6 minutes

While Sacramento is the state capital, it’s only the sixth-largest city in California.

28. Portland, Oregon.

Portland. Keep Smiling Photography/Shutterstock

Average trip to work: 27.7 minutes

In 2016, 70% of commuters drove alone, and 48% of fatal crashes involved walking or biking, according to Oregon Metro.

27. Tampa Bay Area, Florida.

Tampa Bay. Flickr / Creative Commons

Average trip to work: 27.9 minutes

Between 2017 and 2018 Tampa had the ninth most growth of any city in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At least there’s sunshine and Gulf Coast beaches.

26. Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville. Flickr/cmroman

Average trip to work: 27.9 minutes

Commuting 28 minutes each way might be getting to people, because nearly a quarter of Nashville employees said they quit their job over a bad commute, four percentage points higher than the national average.

25. Cape Coral – Fort Myers, Florida.

Fort Myers, Florida. Wikimedia Commons

Average trip to work: 27.9 minutes

Fort Myers is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country, with the Census Bureau ranking it No. 7 in April, the Fort Myers News-Press reported.

24. Winter Haven, Florida.

Downtown Winter haven, Florida Wikimedia

Average trip to work: 28 minutes

Set in the middle of Tampa and Orlando, Winter Haven is home to attractions including LEGOLAND and Cypress Gardens.

23. Thousand Oaks, California.

Average trip to work: 28.1 minutes

The city is 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It was ranked the 3rd-safest city in a nationwide ranking, before a mass shooting left 13 people dead in November 2018.

22. Denver, Colorado.


Average trip to work: 28.1 minutes

Despite 70% of commuters driving alone, Denver’s mayor Michael Hancock has his sights set on getting 30% of commuters out of single-person cars by 2030, unveiling a $US2 billion plan to increase the number of people taking public transit, walking, and biking to work.

21. Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas.

Average trip to work: 28.6 minutes

Dallas-Fort Worth grew the most out of any metropolitan area in the country between 2017 and 2018, according to the US Census Bureau.

20. Worcester, Massachusetts.

Cars in Worcester. John Tlumaki / The Boston Globe via Getty

Average trip to work: 28.7 minutes

One thing Worcester commuters can hold onto, at least, is that on average their commute is about a minute faster than the rest of the state.

19. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii.

Average trip to work: 28.8 minutes

Back in 2012, a transportation analytics firm ranked Honolulu the absolute worst city for traffic in the US, so this is at least an improvement.

18. Greater Orlando, Florida.

Average trip to work: 29.4 minutes

Orlando is a booming tourism destination with 68 million visitors every year, which likely doesn’t help the daily commutes of people who live there.

17. Greater Miami, Florida.

Average trip to work: 29.9 minutes

It’s not all cars and buses – the Miami Herald reported that at least one man commutes by paddleboard, among dolphins and pelicans.

16. Greater Houston, Texas.

Houston. Stan Honda/Getty Images

Average trip to work: 29.9 minutes

At 600 square miles, Houston is a sprawling city, making the daily commute hard to avoid. Houston could fit Manhattan, Chicago, and D.C., and Boston inside its borders.

15. San Jose – Santa Clara, California.

Average trip to work: 30 minutes

The Mercury News rounded up Bay Area commuters’ horror stories, including one man who built his own “Mad Max” cargo bike he folds up and takes on the train, and one couple who drive, take the lightrail, take a shuttle, and walk to get to and from work.

14. Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Average trip to work: 30.3 minutes

Interestingly, nearly 40% of city workers leave Philadelphia to get to their jobs, the Inquirer reported.

13. Modesto, California.

Modesto, California. flickr/tomhilton

Average trip to work: 30.5 minutes

The commute time in Modesto might be a hard one to swallow for director George Lucas, whose first film “American Graffiti“, was based on his memories of growing up and cruising around the city.

12. Los Angeles, California.

Average trip to work: 30.8 minutes

While this is based on a daily average, a 2018 University of Southern California study showed commuters spend a lot more time travelling home from work. The study found this was because people clog the roads after work to run errands or go to dinner.

11. Seattle – Tacoma, Washington.

Average trip to work: 31 minutes

Seattle Magazine highlighted Kent, SeaTac, and Issaquah among the best suburbs for a “quick” commute, and they all ranged from 30 minutes to an hour.

10. Greater Boston, Massachusetts.

Average trip to work: 31.4 minutes

There are nearly 500,000 more jobs in Massachusetts than 10 years ago, putting some serious pressure on Boston’s transportation system.

9. Central Maryland, Maryland.

Maryland. Ben Schumin/Wikimedia Commons

Average trip to work: 31.5 minutes

Home to the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and Johns Hopkins University, Maryland is a biotech powerhouse, driving $US17 billion in economic activity.

8. Greater Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Average trip to work: 31.6 minutes

A 2018 study from the Connecticut Department of Transportation found commute times could substantially improve if Interstate 95 was widened, Patch Reported.

7. Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago. Scott Olson/Getty

Average trip to work: 31.8 minutes

A report from location and data analytics company INRIX ranked Chicago the third-most congested city in the US and the 23rd-most congested city in the world. According to their data, the average driver spent 138 hours stuck in traffic in 2018.

6. Metro Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta, Georgia. David Turner / Getty Images.

Average trip to work: 32.3 minutes

And most Atlantans are making the trip solo – 73% drive alone, and only 7% take public transit, according to Flowing Data.

5. Inland Empire, California.

Inland Empire traffic. Ric Francis, AP

Average trip to work: 32.7 minutes

This Californian area used to be called “Orange Empire” due to a booming citrus industry.

4. Stockton – Lodi, California.

Stockton, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty

Average trip to work: 33.5 minutes

The commute might be near the longer end for the United States, but at least it’s a repeat winner of the All-American City award, which recognises civic engagement.

3. San Francisco, California.

Average trip to work: 34.4 minutes

Unfortunately on top of a long daily commute, the cost of living in San Francisco is also 62.6% higher than the rest of the country.

2. Washington Metropolitan Area, Maryland and Virginia.

Washington. Bill O’Leary / The Washington Post / Getty

Average trip to work: 34.9 minutes

The United States’ capital comes in at No. 2 for the longest commutes in the country. Reason called D.C.’s metro system a “national embarrassment” and the Washington Examiner called it “the worst in the world”.

1. Greater New York, New York.

New York. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Average trip to work: 37 minutes

Greater New York has the longest commute in the country, and a huge proportion of commuters don’t live in New York City – over 1.6 million people come to Manhattan from another country every day. With most New Yorkers taking the crumbling subway to work, getting to the office in New York isn’t always a breeze.