Oct 24, 2022 - News

Commutes are down from 2019

Data: U.S. Census American Community Survey; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

The pandemic shaved a couple of minutes off your drive (or ride) to work.

What's happening: The average one-way commute in Metro Detroit was 1.3 minutes shorter in 2021 than 2019, according to the latest U.S. Census data.

Why it matters: More people working from home has reshaped the traditional back-and-forth commute.

  • Michigan's at-home workforce exploded from 4.5% in 2019 to 16.4%, in 2021, according to Census data.

Zoom out: Traffic congestion is down about 27% across major U.S. cities' downtowns compared to pre-pandemic levels, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick reports.

  • Nationwide, the average one-way work trip in 2021 was two minutes shorter than in 2019.

What we're watching: The Renaissance Center — our region's largest office complex — has been mostly working remotely for two years.

  • General Motors decision last month to bring salaried workers back in-office three days a week was recalled after immediate backlash from employees.
  • A more regular, in-person presence could boost the central business district, but how much of an uptick is still unknown, Crain's Detroit reports.

Go deeper: The number of people working remotely tripled during COVID


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