It looks like we all are spending more time in our cars again getting to work. During COVID, a lot of people were able to completely eliminate their drive to work and were fortunate enough to be able to work from home.


The U.S. Census Bureau released a report in 2021 revealing that the average one-way commute was for 2019. That would have been just prior to the arrival of the COVID pandemic, but at that point the average time to get to work throughout the U.S. was 27.6 minutes.

Then there are those people who are considered "super commuters". These individuals travel more than one hour each way to work and it looks like about 10% of workers in the United States fall into that category.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Where are the Longest Commutes to Work?

The longest commutes are:

  • East Stroudsburg, PA at 40 minutes
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA areas at 37 minutes
  • Stockton, CA at 35.2 minutes
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV areas at 34.8 minutes
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA areas at 34.1 minutes
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Where are the Shortest Commutes to Work?

Of course the smaller cities with lesser amounts of traffic fall into this category. The metro areas with the lowest average commute are:

  • Grand Forks, ND-MN area at 15.7 minutes
  • Walla Walla, WA at 15.8 minutes
  • Dubuque, IA at 16.4 minutes
  • Cheyenne, WY at 16.4 minutes
  • Great Falls, MT at 16.5 minutes
Courtesy of Michigan Department of Transportation
Courtesy of Michigan Department of Transportation

What do the Commuting Numbers Look Like for Grand Rapids, MI?

The United States Census Bureau report actually gives a lot of specifics about our commute to work.

It shows that in the Grand Rapids area there are 99,711 workers 16 years and over.

Most of those people (83.4%) drive to work, while 10.4% car pool 4.4% walk, 3.4% use public transportation, 1% bike to work, and .9% use a cab, motorcycle or other means. A lucky 6.8% of people were working from home in 2019, before the COVID pandemic.

Google Earth
Google Earth

How Long is the Commute to Work in the Grand Rapids area?

The numbers are based on 5 year estimates. The average time that it takes to get to work in the G.R. metro is just under 20 minutes at 19.4 minutes. If you look at the breakdown you can see what the average travel time is for most residents:

  • 24.1% of workers travel for 15-19 minutes
  • 19.3% of workers travel for 10-14 minutes
  • 18.2% of workers travel for 20-24 minutes
  • 14.2% of workers travel less than 10 minutes
  • 8.1% of workers travel 30-34 minutes
  • 5.9% of workers travel 25-29 minutes
  • 3.7% of workers travel 35-44 minutes
  • 3.6% of workers travel 45-59 minutes
  • 3% of workers fall into the "super commuter" category of traveling over 60 minutes to work.

The report also shows that men spend a few more minutes commuting to work than women. The average commute time in Grand Rapids for men is 20.6 minutes, with women traveling for just 18.1 minutes to get to their jobs.

AAA Predicts The Busiest Thanksgiving Travel Period In Nine Years
Getty Images

When is the Busiest Travel Time to Work in Grand Rapids?

Just what time are most people driving to work? The report also breaks down those numbers

  • 29.5% of workers leave for work between 9 am-midnight
  • 15.6% of workers leave for work between 7:30-7:59 am
  • 12.5% of workers leave for work between 7:00-7:29 am
  • 10% of workers leave for work between 8:00-8:29 am
  • 8.3% of workers leave for work between 6:30-6:59 am
  • 7.4% of workers lave for work between 6:00-6:29 am
  • 6.2% of workers leave for work between 8:30-8:59 am
  • 4.1% of workers leave for work between 5:30-5:59 am
  • 4% of workers leave for work between 12 midnight-4:59 am
  • 2.5% of workers leave for work between 5:00-5:29 am

Those numbers indicate most of the workers in the Grand Rapids area are starting their jobs later in the day. During the morning commute, the busiest time on the roadways is between 7:30-7:59 am.

If you would like to see the numbers for yourself, the complete report from the U.S. Census Bureau can be found on their website.


The Michigan Communities With The Worst Commutes

Do you think that your commute is bad? Yeah, wait till you see these Michigan counties that have it far worse than you do. The U.S. Census Bureau gathered this information. The counties listed below, are based on the average commute time per community.

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