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Here’s How Much Time You’ll Waste Commuting in Your Lifetime (by City)

Last updated: August 29, 2018
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Commuting is the most stressful part of the day for many people. It’s like a recurring nightmare — day after day, week after week, year after year spent sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, stuck behind the wheel instead of spending time with family and friends doing the things you love. It takes a serious toll on the mind and body and on relationships. Not to mention, it can be seriously damaging to your health, leading to headaches, backaches, sleep problems, fatigue, mental health problems, and more.

The worst part? Commute times are only getting worse all across the country. In the US, the average worker spends 52.2 minutes a day commuting to and from work, but in many parts of the country, things are even worse. Over the course of just a week, that’s 4.35 hours a week spent commuting.

That got us thinking — how many days does the average person spend commuting to and from work over the course of their life?

We did the math for nearly 1,000 US cities. The average American loses 408 days of their life commuting, and in many areas, the toll is even higher.

Using the interactive map below, you can see how many days of your life you can expect to spend to commuting in the city where you live. Caution: the answer might depress you.

1. The Map
2. Methodology
3. How to Use the Map


Key Findings



So, how did we calculate the number of days you can expect to spend commuting in your life in each city?

For the purposes of this study, we assumed the average person starts full-time work at 18 (some people start earlier, others a bit later). We also know the average retirement age is 63 in the United States.

That’s 45 years of working a full-time job.

We then worked from the assumption that most people work about 250 days per year, which accounts for 2 weeks annual vacation and time off.

That’s 11,250 days of working/commuting over a career.

From here, we simply used data from the US Census Bureau on average daily roundtrip commute times for nearly 1,000 cities and towns across the country and then did the math.


How to Use the Map

The above map is interactive and easy to use. If you want to see commute times in your area, simply click the pin icon on the upper-left corner of the map, and it will zoom into your city (assuming you aren’t using a VPN). You can also click the magnifying glass to search by city name if you don’t want to use your IP location.

From there, simply click on the nearest dot on the map and you’ll see data on that area’s average daily round trip commute time in minutes as well as the total number of days you can expect to spend commuting over your career.

One note for mobile users — you may find the map tool displays better if you flip your device to display horizontally.

So, are you rethinking your commute yet?

Credit for creation of the map goes to: Leaflet | qgis2web Map tiles by Stamen Design,
under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under ODbL.