Jan 31, 2024 - News

San Diego's car commutes are shorter than most major U.S. cities

Change in average travel time by car, 2021 to 2023
Data: TomTom; Map: Axios Visuals

Car commutes in San Diego are getting longer but remain shorter than most other major U.S. cities, new data from TomTom shows.

Why it matters: Those drives have largely gotten slower across America since the mid-pandemic era — likely a reflection of increased traffic, as more people head back to the office at least some of the time.

By the numbers: The average six-mile trip in San Diego's city center took 38 seconds longer last year than in 2021.

  • The drive was 8 minutes and 41 seconds last year, compared to 8:03 in 2021.
  • The average U.S. commute is 11.6 minutes.

Of note: San Diego had the third-shortest travel time among 80 major U.S. cities in TomTom's 2023 traffic index.

The big picture: While corporate leaders' efforts to get employees back at their desks full time have mostly fizzled, the heyday of the work-from-home era is undoubtedly behind us.

  • WFH rates are slowly slipping, with a minority of workers able to enjoy total flexibility these days.
  • The result: More car traffic during the rush-hour rat race.

Zoom in: Remote work dipped in San Diego last year but continued to outpace the nationwide average, and companies are reducing office space downtown.

And, while remote work is more common than pre-pandemic, much of San Diego's workforce is still commuting every day and taking public transit.

Go deeper: Cities with the slowest traffic, mapped

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