Do you work at home or have a short commute? Be thankful you aren't one of the 600,000 Americans who have "megacommutes" that involve at least 90 minutes and 50 miles one way to get to work.
The U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday released its annual American Community Survey, which examines the driving habits of American workers. Commuting trends have been relatively consistent over the past decade, despite the deep recession.
The average one-way daily commute for U.S. workers is 25.5 minutes and one in four commuters leaves their county to work, according to the Census report.
Three counties in the New York City metropolitan area had the highest number of commuters leaving the county where they live for another county. They include workers living in Kings County (Brooklyn), Queens County (Queens) and Bronx County (The Bronx) traveling to New York County (Manhattan) for work.
Workers commuting from Los Angeles County to Orange County, and from Orange County to Los Angeles County in California represented the fourth and fifth largest flows of commuters across county lines, followed by three combinations in the Houston or Dallas metro areas in Texas.
According to the Census Bureau, 23 percent of workers with long commutes (60 minutes or more) use public transit, compared with 5.3 percent for all workers. Only 61.1 percent of workers with long commutes drove to work alone, compared with 79.9 percent for all workers who worked outside the home.
"The average travel time for workers who commute by public transportation is higher than that of workers who use other modes. For some workers, using transit is a necessity, but others simply choose a longer travel time over sitting in traffic," said Brian McKenzie, a Census Bureau statistician and author of the brief.
Rail travel accounted for 11.8 percent of workers with long commutes, and other forms of public transportation accounted for 11.2 percent.
Based on the 2006-2010 American Community Survey, 586,805 full-time workers are megacommuters -- one in 122 of full-time workers. Megacommuters were more likely to be male, older, married, make a higher salary, and have a spouse who does not work. Of the total megacommutes, 75.4 percent were male and 24.6 percent women. Megacommuters were also more likely to depart for work before 6 a.m. Metro areas with large populations tend to attract large flows of megacommuters.
The American Community Survey data collected on commuting are used to make transportation planning decisions by planners and governments, from the smallest towns to the U.S. as well as marketers and employers.
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