WTOP Beltway Poll: Area commute times shrinking

WASHINGTON – D.C.-area workers are spending less time commuting than they were two years ago, according to the latest WTOP Beltway Poll.

The number of commuters in D.C., Maryland and Virginia reporting round-trip commutes of 30 minutes or less has increased. However, the typical commute is 60 minutes across all three jurisdictions, according to the poll.

Virginians report the longest commutes overall — an average of 70 minutes. Eighteen percent of Virginia commuters say they travel more than two hours per day to get to work or school, up 5 percent from 2012.

District residents reported spending the least amount of time commuting. The most common commute was 48 minutes roundtrip.

Commutes would have to double before most workers would make changes to reduce how long they spend on the roads and rails. Virginians have the greatest tolerance for long commutes, while Maryland, D.C. residents and those with household incomes less than $50,000 a year have the least patience.

Roughly one in 10 residents says his one-way commute would have to be 1.5 hours before they would consider a change.

Low-wage earners also were more likely to live closer to their jobs and had shorter commutes. They would use public transportation or change jobs to reduce time spent commuting.

Those with a household income of $75,000 or more were more likely to telecommute or change jobs to shrink their commute times.

Heart&Mind Strategies conducted the phone survey among 602 adults May 6 to May 13. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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