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How Long Is The Average Commute? An Interactive Map Of The D.C. Metro Region

Darker areas represent longer average commutes for residents of the D.C. region.
U.S. Census/Transportation Nation
Darker areas represent longer average commutes for residents of the D.C. region.

For those who live and work in the D.C. region, long commutes punctuated by massive Metro breakdowns and traffic delays are the norm. According to data from the Census Bureau (pdf), however, the commutes for some Capital area residents are among the worst in the nation.

The average travel time in the Metro area as a whole is 34.5 minutes, second only to New York City.

One fact is made abundantly clear even from a cursory glance of the data: the average commute for those living in the outer suburbs is significantly worse than for those living in the District and the suburbs in the north, south and west. The average commute in areas like Cleveland Park, Arlington and Capitol Hill is much closer to the national average of 25.4 minutes, where residents of Takoma Park, Anacostia or Clifton travel closer to 40 minutes.

The District is unique in that most workers — 72.4 percent in fact — live in a different state, with residents of Maryland and Virginia accounting for 70.4 percent of those who work in the city. Small counties in the D.C. region like Manassas Park and Falls Church also top the list in terms of the percentage of workers that commute outside of their county of residence.

"The District of Columbia is a job center for all of its adjoining counties in Maryland and Virginia," says Brian McKenzie, a Census statistician. "No other state's workforce exceeded 20 percent in its rate of out-of-state commuters."

The District of Columbia also had the highest rate of residents traveling across state lines to work at 25.2 percent, followed by Maryland at 18.3 percent. About 12.0 percent of Maryland workers commute to the District of Columbia, and about 13.0 percent of workers living in the nation's capital commute to Maryland.

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