The Commute to Work is No Joyride for Massachusetts Residents

Posted: September 5th, 2018

With September here and summer unofficially over, if you think it’s taking you longer to get to work, you’re right.

In fact, the average daily ride to work for Massachusetts commuters – whether they drive or take transit -- is now one minute, 42 seconds longer than it was at the beginning of the decade, according to a AAA Northeast analysis of 2010-16 U.S. Census data, the latest figures available.

The average commute in the Bay State now registers 29 minutes one-way, up from 27.3 minutes in 2010. The national average commute stands at just over 26 minutes. Massachusetts’ average commute time has increased every year this decade. Overall, the Bay State has the 5th longest average commute in the country, including the 3rd longest single-occupant vehicle commute. A recent INRIX study ranks Boston as the seventh most congested city in the U.S., with workers spending more than 60 hours sitting in traffic every year—14% of their commute time.

So, what’s one more minute fighting traffic to get to your job? Over the course of a year, Massachusetts commuters spend more than 6 additional hours on their way to work in the morning – in traffic, on trains, or on buses – than they did in 2010.

Norfolk County commuters have the longest rides at 33.4 minutes – a full three minutes longer than in 2010. 16.6% of those rides are more than one hour long—while nationally, only 8.7% of commutes to work exceed the hour mark.

The economic recovery has also boosted commuting time, with more residents traveling to jobs. From 2010-16, Massachusetts has added 97,000 vehicle commuters and 49,000 transit commuters.

“With unemployment at a record low in the Bay State, and more people on the roads and on the rails, commutes are bound to get even longer,” says Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs for AAA Northeast.  “We need to invest in improved infrastructure to ensure that Massachusetts residents can get to their jobs safely and efficiently.”