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Length Of Commute Linked To Education, Income Levels

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On average, low and mid-income workers have to spend more of their time traveling to work than their high-income, educated counterparts.
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On average, low and mid-income workers have to spend more of their time traveling to work than their high-income, educated counterparts.

The easiest commutes in the Washington metro area have a lot to do with your job skills and ability to pay for housing. That's according to a new report released by the Brookings Institution.

Researcher Nicole Prchal Svajlenka says the region is quite good at connecting workers to jobs, but the more educated you are, the more jobs you'll be able to reach within a typical 45 to 90 minute commute.

"If a person is low-skilled, they can reach about 62 percent of jobs they can likely fill," says Svajlenka, as compared to high-skill workers, who can reach about 72 percent of jobs they're likely to be able to fill. "That's because of the way jobs are distributed in the region. The high-skilled job are highly-concentrated in the core, and low-skilled are dispersed more evenly about the region."

Svajlenka says living near the best transportation options can be costly.

"Low-skill and mid-skill workers are priced out of neighborhoods with high transit coverage," says Svajlenka.

The study recommends that planning and investment for jobs, housing and transportation should be considered together.

"We should focus on housing, economic and community development around transit stations, especially underutilized Metro stations," says Svajlenka.

That would include most of the Green Line stations in Prince George's County.

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