commuting

Another kind of gridlock grips D.C.: Hellish commute traffic

March 5, 2013 at 11:40 AM ET

AFP - Getty Images file /
Commuters move slowly during heavy traffic on a freeway in Los Angeles in 2011. California is among the states with the highest percentage of people commuting an hour or more.

The jokes about Washington, D.C.’s gridlock usually refer to politics, but they might as well be talking about the traffic.

A new government report finds that more than one quarter of the people who work in Washington, D.C. are commuting an hour or more each way to work.

The District of Columbia has the highest rate of workers with long commutes, but it’s not that unusual for Americans to spend hours each day commuting.

Overall, a Census Bureau report released Tuesday found that 8.1 percent of American workers spent 60 minutes or more getting each way to work in 2011. That’s a little more than double the average travel time for commuters, which was 25.5 minutes in 2011.

The good news is that the people with the longest commutes are far more likely to be using public transportation. The bad news is that most of them were still driving alone in their car.

The Census report found that 23 percent of workers with travel times of 60 minutes or more were taking public transportation, compared with just 3.7 percent of workers with shorter commutes.

Still, 61.1 percent workers with travel times of 60 minutes or more drove alone. That compares with 81.5 percent of workers with commutes of less than 60 minutes. The rest were carpooling or using other means of transportation.

The majority of people who are commuting to Washington, D.C. are coming from other states, and it’s not uncommon for people with long commutes to be going from one state where they live to another where they work.

Here’s a list of the states with the highest percentage of workers who work in that state and are commuting an hour or more to work.

10. Georgia: 9.1 percent

9. Virginia: 9.4 percent

8. California: 10.1 percent

7. New Jersey: 11.1 percent

6. Illinois: 11.3 percent

5. Massachusetts: 11.7 percent

4. Maryland: 11.8 percent

3. Puerto Rico: 13.9 percent

2. New York: 18.2 percent

1. Washington, D.C.: 27.4 percent

Hate commuting? You might want to consider relocating to Nebraska, which had the lowest percentage of long commuters, or asking your boss if you can work from home.

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