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November 27, 2001
The Longest-Commute Award Goes to...
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York City has the country's longest average commute to work, according to the latest Census data.

USA Today notes that with an average commute of 39 minutes, New Yorkers spend about four entire days more traveling each year than workers in Chicago - which has the second-longest commute, at 33 minutes.

So read 'em and weep - here are the Census Bureau's 10 longest commutes:

1. New York City - 39 min.
2. Chicago - 33.1 min.
3. San Francisco - 29.6 min.
4. Newark, N.J. - 29.5 min.
5. Oakland - 29.4 min. (tie)
6. Miami - 29.4 min. (tie)
7. Philadelphia - 29.2 min.
8. Riverside, Calif. - 29 min.
9. Washington, D.C. - 28.5 min.
10. Los Angeles - 28.1 min.

The data also reveals other commuting habits around the country, including that carpooling remains popular in California and that Bostonians like to walk. Residents of El Paso, Texas, and Charlotte and Raleigh, the two largest cities in North Carolina, seem to hate hoofing it to the office.

Nationally, commute times increased during the 1990s, and carpooling declined from 13% of car traffic to 11%, according to estimates from U.S. cities with more than 250,000 residents.

New York won the longest-commute award despite having the nation's most extensive transit system. Moreover, the average time has gotten worse over the past decade: In 1990, New York commuters needed an average of 36.5 minutes to get to work.

One in eight workers in Boston walks to the office - the highest rate in the nation. By contrast, people in Raleigh are the least likely to walk to work - only 1 in 100 workers - followed closely by El Paso and Charlotte.

Of the 10 cities with the longest commutes in 1990, six remained from a decade later: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Newcomers in 2000 included Miami; Newark, N.J.; Riverside, Calif.; and Oakland, Calif.

To the surprise of city leaders, the southern California city of Anaheim was the nation's carpooling king, USA Today reports. One in four motorists share the ride.

Three major freeway systems border the city, all with car pool lanes, and several of Anaheim's largest employers offer car pool incentives, including the city itself, said spokesman John Nicoletti.


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