Oct 24, 2023 - News

Raleigh's post-pandemic commuter trends

Share of Raleigh area workers by commute time
Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

The share of Raleigh workers with relatively speedy commutes has slightly increased compared to prepandemic times, according to a new Axios analysis of census data.

Why it matters: Quicker commutes are tied to better mental health, greater job satisfaction and several other personal benefits.

By the numbers: 20.5% of Raleigh-area workers commuted for less than 15 minutes in 2022, up from 19.2% in 2019.

  • 40% of Raleigh commuters had travel times between 15 and 29 minutes, up from 39.5%.
  • The number of people who had commute times between 30 and 44 minutes fell by 2%.

The big picture: Nationally, commutes under 30 minutes became more commonplace during that time period, while those 30 minutes and longer became rarer.

Of note: These findings don't include employees who work from home, and thus have a commute time of zero — or maybe a minute or two, if you stop to pour a cup of coffee on your way to your home office setup.

  • Instead, the results are based on the approximately 136.2 million Americans ages 16 and older with non-WFH jobs in 2022.

Zoom in: But the effects of WFH cannot be ignored in the Triangle, which has one of the largest shares of remote workers in the country.

  • More than 26% of workers in the Raleigh metro area reported working from home last year, according to the Census Bureau. The rate was 21.6% in the Durham metro.
  • And while the Raleigh area has more total workers than it did before the pandemic, fewer of them commute to work now than they did in 2019.

The bottom line: This data may not jive with your personal experience, as construction and other factors can mess with particular routes — but in the broad sense, more Americans are enjoying faster trips to work.


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