Average commute time for American workers hits new record high

What would you do with an extra nine days per calendar year? That is about how long (for a record-high total of 225 hours) the average American worker spent commuting in 2018, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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A growing number of commuters is one thing driving the increase in time spent in transit. As of 2018, there were 4.3 million workers with commutes of 90 minutes or more, up from 3.3 million in 2010, according to the research.

The typical commuter now spends 20 more minutes a week commuting than they did a decade ago. Over the course of a year, it works out to about 17 additional hours commuting.

Research has shown that longer commutes are bad for workers’ health, as they are typically less physically active. Greater commuting distances are associated with decreased cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), increased weight and other indicators of metabolic risk, according to a 2012 study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Meanwhile, traffic congestion costs Americans $166 billion a year due to lost time and increased fuel costs, according to a Texas A&M study.