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Extreme Commutes
Photo: K.C. Hohensee
People who live within earshot of major highways such as I-95 and the Capital Beltway (I-495) know that “rush hour” starts well before 5 a.m. Now a national report, “Commuting in America III,” documents how much effort people invest in commuting from their homes to their places of employment.

This report is published by the Transportation Research Board and its findings were reported in the Washington Post on October 27, 2006.

Some details from the study:

  • "Washington area workers are more likely to travel to jobs outside their home counties than commuters in any other region in the nation.”

  • "A higher percentage of Virginia residents live and work in different counties than commuters in any other state; Marylanders ranked second.”

  • "The Washington region is second only to New York for the percentage of workers with ‘extreme commutes,’ which the study defined as 90 minutes or more each way.”

  • "Of the 12 counties with the highest percentage of long commutes, the [metropolitan Washington] region has three:  Prince William [Virginia], Prince George’s [Maryland], and Montgomery [Maryland].

  • The top three areas that use public transit and carpools are (in order):  New York, San Francisco, and the metropolitan Washington area.

  • "According to the report 30 million vehicles were added to households between 1990 and 2000, with 13 million of them going to households that already had two or more vehicles."

  • "The number of drivers who commute alone grew by nearly 13 million in the past decade, and the number workers with commutes of more than an hour jumped by nearly 50 percent in the same period.”

  • "Although immigrants make up 14 percent of all workers, they represent about 40 percent of those in large carpools.

"Based on census data, this report “is considered by transportation planners to be the most comprehensive study of commuting habits. Previous editions were published in 1996 and 1987.”

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