Getting to Work: New Commute Duration Heatmaps

The Mineta Transportation Institute's new interactive website produces heatmaps that illustrate commute duration—the number of minutes that workers spend traveling to their jobs—plus related information, for most U.S. communities.

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September 16, 2021, 12:00 PM PDT

By Todd Litman

A map showing a heat map that represents commute times in an urban area.

Mineta Transportation Institute / Commute Duration Dashboard

The Mineta Transportation Institute’s new interactive Commute Duration Dashboard, illustrates commute duration (average minutes per commute), plus key demographic information including income, gender and race, for most U.S. communities. From the dashboard's abstract:

Transportation planning is shifting from mobility-based to accessibility-based analysis. Mobility-based planning evaluates transportation system performance based primarily on travel speed. Accessibility-based planning evaluates system performance based on time, the amount of time required to access desired services and activities such as work, school and shops. This new paradigm recognizes that many factors can affect accessibility, including mobility (travel speed), proximity (the distances between destinations, and therefore development density and mix), transport system diversity (the variety of travel modes available at a time and place), transport network connectivity (the quality of connections between modes), and affordability.

For various levels of analysis, the dashboard presents both Census tract data and county-level data. These maps show that in must urban regions, workers in central neighborhoods spend significantly less time commuting than in sprawled, automobile-dependent areas, despite slower average traffic speeds and lower automobile mode shares—indicating once again that accessibility depends more on proximity than traffic speed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 in Mineta Transportation Institute

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