Data: Com­mute tak­ing longer

Cen­sus Bu­reau sur­vey con­firms state’s driv­ers are on the road more

Hartford Courant - - Connecticut - By Jake Kara Con­necti­cut Mir­ror

Com­mutes are get­ting longer, and more Con­necti­cut driv­ers are spend­ing at least an hour to get to work — par­tic­u­larly in Fair­field County — new data from the U.S. Cen­sus Bu­reau show.

The av­er­age com­muter in the U.S. spent 26.4 min­utes trav­el­ing to work, ac­cord­ing to cen­sus data cov­er­ing a five-year pe­riod from 2013 to 2017. That’s an in­crease of one minute, from 25.4 min­utes over the pre­vi­ous five-year pe­riod that ended in 2012.

Con­necti­cut com­mutes are a bit shorter than the na­tional av­er­age. The in-state travel time in­creased from 24.8 to 26 min­utes. But in some parts of Con­necti­cut, com­mutes are much longer than the state and na­tional av­er­age.

The Cen­sus Bu­reau’s 2013-17 Amer­i­can Com­mu­nity Sur­vey cov­ers a sweep­ing range of sub­ject mat­ter, us­ing five years of data. The five-year sur­vey can be com­pared to data sets with non-over­lap­ping years, so in this case, we can com­pare the 2013-2017 re­sults to the 2008-2012 re­sults.

When it comes to com­mut­ing, the sur­vey makes clear there is a gen­der gap. Con­necti­cut men have longer com­mutes, 28 min­utes, com­pared with 24 min­utes for women. Men are also more likely to use pub­lic trans­porta­tion. Those pat­terns were true in 2012 as well.

In ad­di­tion to av­er­age com­mute time,

the Cen­sus bu­reau re­ports how many com­muters trav­eled less than 10 min­utes, 10-15 min­utes, and so on, in buck­ets up through 60 min­utes or more. This more gran­u­lar group­ing pro­vides a pic­ture of how that av­er­age has changed. There was a clear shift in this case: the num­ber of peo­ple in ev­ery com­mute cat­e­gory shorter than 25 min­utes de­creased, while it in­creased for ev­ery cat­e­gory 25 min­utes or above.

More long com­mutes, fewer short ones

Most of the hour-plus com­muters live in Fair­field County. Men there spend 32.9 min­utes com­mut­ing on av­er­age — a whole five min­utes longer than men na­tion­wide. Fair­field County wom­en­had an av­er­age com­mute of 27.6, which is three min­utes longer than women na­tion­wide.

With an in­creas­ing num­ber of Con­necti­cut driv­ers spend­ing more time on the roads com­mut­ing to work, there will likely be in­tense pub­lic in­ter­est if law­mak­ers once again con­sider tolls as a way to help close the state's bud­get deficit dur­ing the up­com­ing leg­isla­tive ses­sion.

A re­cent study found that Con­necti­cut could raise $1 bil­lion a year from tolls, with in-state traf­fic ac­count­ing for 44 per­cent of that rev­enue. Gov.-elect Ned La­mont has ex­pressed sup­port for lim­it­ing tolls to trac­tor-trail­ers, say­ing that even this lim­ited ap­proach could gen­er­ate $360 mil­lion a year for the state's cof­fers.

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