In Most States, a Spike in 'Super Commutes' Over 90 Minutes Long
by Tim Henderson, Stateline.org, June 5, 2017 (excerpt)
The number of commuters who travel 90 minutes or more to get to work increased sharply between 2010 and 2015, a shift that traffic experts, real estate analysts and others attribute to skyrocketing housing costs and a reluctance to move, born of memories of the 2008 financial crisis.
In all but 10 states, the number of “super commuters” increased over the period, and in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Dakota and Rhode Island, it grew by more than 40 percent, according to census data. The growth came amid an overall increase in the number of commuters as the economy improved, but the increase in the number of people with the longest rides, 23 percent, was almost three times the increase in the number of those with shorter commutes, close to 8 percent….
- Number of workers with commutes of 90 minutes or longer in 2015: 16,959
- Percentage change from 2010 to 2015: 63.0%
In Hawaii, people in relatively low-paid tourism jobs have to travel long distances to get to tourist spots in Honolulu, where those jobs are concentrated, said Panos Prevedouros, a traffic engineering professor at the University of Hawaii. (Also Hilo to Kona.)
Tourism was still down after the recession in 2010, he said, and has since come roaring back — drawing more workers to affordable areas west of the city and creating more traffic jams on the limited roads between them, making commute times even longer.
“Hotel pay is modest and these workers tend to live far from Waikiki [a beach neighborhood of Honolulu] and downtown Honolulu, in remote towns that come with 75-minute commutes or more,” Prevedouros said. During the recession, he said, lighter traffic meant fewer 90-minute trips, even from far-off locales. But now, “when the economy is booming, even close-in suburbs will experience occasional 90-plus-minute trips,” he said.
The number of Hawaii residents commuting 90 minutes or more increased 63 percent from 2010 to 2015, to almost 17,000.
Eugene Tian, Hawaii’s chief state economist, said the population in the affordable areas west of Honolulu grew 50 percent faster between 2010 and 2015 than the pricier areas around downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, which could help explain the increase in longer rides….
read … Stateline.org
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