The American Community Survey has found that the percentage of people working from home has increased since 2012, but the amount of time spent on the daily commute for everyone else is higher. The numbers show that in almost every city in the United States, commute times have increased between 2012 and 2017. Despite the percentage of workers who work from home having also increased, which should decrease traffic overall.
The ACS is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and analyzes survey responses to estimate various parts of American life. The survey looks at the nation overall as well as the 15 largest cities here. The latest ACS compares numbers from the 2012 survey with those of the recently-completed 2017 survey.
The percentage of workers who stay home is up nearly everywhere, with the city of San Jose, California being the only exception. Nationally, the number of work-at-home professionals has increased from 4.4 percent in 2012 to 5.2 percent in 2017. The most marked increase in the number of workers who do so from home were in Austin, Texas and Columbus, Ohio, where the percentage jumped by more than 2 percent. The city with the largest number of those working at home was Austin, Texas, where nearly 9 percent of workers are working from home.
Despite these increases in workers staying home, the mean travel time to work, measured in minutes, went up in every city but Columbus, Ohio, where it remained level. The average mean travel time to work (one way) in the U.S. went from 25.7 minutes in 2012 to 26.9 minutes in 2017. Nearly all cities saw an increase in travel time by at least a minute, some by two or more.
For more information, see the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Worldwide Transportation program.