5 Best and 5 Worst Cities for Work Commutes

Woman stressed during commute
LEDOMSTOCK / Shutterstock.com

Most of us have to commute. A lucky few can work from home and just stagger downstairs to the couch, but for the rest of us, it’s cars, or trains, or buses, or bikes, or feet, or some other way of weaving through traffic and battling weather, construction and the million other little headaches that come with getting to work on time.

How that daily trek goes can make a real difference in our quality of life, which is why real-estate website realtor.com did an analysis of average commute times, traffic congestion, and road and bridge conditions in the 150 largest U.S. metro areas to determine the best and worst cities for commuters.

Here’s what they found, starting with the very best city commutes, and ending with the most miserable:

1. Eugene, Oregon

Eugene, Oregon
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Average commute time: 19.9 minutes
Eugene, home of the University of Oregon, earns straight A’s for its commute. Out of the country’s 150 largest metros, only three have shorter daily travel times. Only 10 American metros have less congestion. And, at 7 percent, its rate of bike-commuting is nearly double the national rate.

2. Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas
Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock.com

Average commute time: 20.4 minutes
Coastal Corpus Christi features an average commute time of just 20 minutes. And traffic jokes don’t make much sense to locals, who spend only 6.4 hours annually stuck in congestion. (That might sound like a lot now, but wait until you find out how much time commuters in the worst commuting cities sit twiddling their thumbs in traffic.)

3. Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas
KSwinicki / Shutterstock.com

Average commute time: 19.4 minutes
Wichita has the third-lowest levels of traffic congestion in the nation, with an average commute time of just 19 minutes. Prefer two wheels to four? The city has added around 40 miles of dedicated bikeways over the past four years, realtor.com reports.

4. Reno, Nevada

Reno, Nevada
tusharkoley / Shutterstock.com

Average commute time: 21.4 minutes
If you feel like gambling on a life in Reno, you’ll spend only 11 hours stuck in traffic congestion per year, half that of its big-city Nevada cousin, Las Vegas. Nearly 8 people million ride the region’s bus system annually, and nearly 70 percent of the roads are rated in good or fair condition.

5. Brownsville, Texas

Roper in the rodeo
Roberto Galan / Shutterstock.com

Average commute time: 20.1 minutes
Brownsville, which sits on the U.S.-Mexico border, lands in fifth place among the 150 largest metro areas for its commute time. Drivers are safe on roads here, too: In 2018, Allstate named Brownsville first on its “America’s Best Drivers Report,” reporting that the average driver goes 13.6 years between car insurance claims.

The five previous cities topped the charts for civilized commuting times, but you can still gloat if you live in Provo, Utah; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Huntsville, Alabama; Tallahassee, Florida; or Augusta, Georgia. Those cities were the next runners-up on the realtor.com rankings.

But at the other end of the spectrum, what follows are some cities that are just plain miserable for commuters. Let’s start with the fifth-worst and work up to the gnarliest:

5. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston
mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com

Average commute time: 30.6 minutes

Boston is a tangle for commuters. Not only that, but Boston drivers are more likely than those in any other American city to file a car insurance claim, according to Allstate’s 2018 America’s Best Drivers Report, making a claim every 3.9 years, on average. With all those accidents, it’s a good thing Boston has so many great hospitals.

4. San Francisco, California

San Francisco
Pius Lee / Shutterstock.com

Average commute time: 32.1 minutes
Sure, leave your heart in San Francisco, but leave your car keys at home. The Bay Area’s infrastructure has been severely tested by a surging population. As a result, drivers here spend on average about 83 hours per year in standstill traffic.

3. Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C.
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Average commute time: 34.4 minutes
Just 1 percent of the roads in our nation’s capital are listed in good or fair condition, realtor.com found. And while companies in tech-friendly cities such as Seattle may grant employees flexible schedules or work-at-home privileges, realtor.com finds that D.C. bosses want employees working in the office, forcing into strict rush-hour schedules.

2. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Average commute time: 29.6 minutes
The band Missing Persons once sang, “Nobody walks in L.A.” And it’s true: Of all our car-dependent cities, the sprawling City of Angels hovers near the top of this list. Its famous freeways are often at a standstill, and the average Angeleno spends more than 104 hours per year in congestion, the highest figure in the nation.

1. New York, New York

Nighttime in Times Square, New York City.
Valerii Iavtushenko / Shutterstock.com

Average commute time: 35.9 minutes
No one’s surprised that New York City tops the list, right? Despite the massive subway system, Long Island Rail Road and other options, commuters still spend nearly 90 hours in traffic congestion annually. Realtor.com points out that the average speed driving through midtown Manhattan is less than 5 mph, and that, “in the worst traffic, it can take 15 minutes to cross a single avenue.” Still, if you can make it to work here, you can make it anywhere.

What do you go through to get to work? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live
5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live

These benefits might make you think twice about retirement.

Avoiding These 5 Foods Could Save Your Vision as You Age
Avoiding These 5 Foods Could Save Your Vision as You Age

Millions of Americans may be able to prevent an incurable cause of blindness by making a basic change.

5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’
5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’

Here is why some seniors’ brains work as well as those of people who are decades younger.

Drivers Give These 5 Car Insurers the Highest Marks
Drivers Give These 5 Car Insurers the Highest Marks

One company claimed the top ranking in several categories.

3 Ways a Health Savings Account Can Improve Your Finances
3 Ways a Health Savings Account Can Improve Your Finances

Open an HSA in minutes to help you save on taxes, cover medical expenses and grow your retirement nest egg.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

The CDC has unveiled a schedule that likely will determine who gets the next doses.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.