Feb 7, 2024 - News

Minneapolis car travel time inches up post pandemic

Average travel time by car, 2023
Data: TomTom. Note: U.S. overall includes an average of 80 cities. Chart: Axios Visuals

Traveling by car in the Twin Cities is taking longer these days, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report from new TomTom data.

Why it matters: More time stuck in traffic means less time for family, friends, and life in general.

By the numbers: The average 6-mile trip in Minneapolis' city center took 12 minutes and four seconds last year.

  • That's nine more seconds than in 2021.

The big picture: Car commutes 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.

State of the cubicles: In Minneapolis, which saw commute times climb by slightly more than the national average, many large employers now require workers to be at the office two or three days a week.

  • Target, downtown's largest employer, which is now mandating four in-person weeks a year, said in December that 35% of corporate workers go in at least once a week.

The intrigue: Data from the Minnesota Department of Transportation also showed an increase in traffic last year.

  • But MnDOT found that the morning rush hour period remains less busy than before the pandemic. Congestion was up midday and highest around 4pm.

Between the lines: The pattern could signal a shift in office hours, as some employees head in later or go home earlier, the Star Tribune notes.

  • The midday spike could also be the result of more workers doing errands or other trips during the workday, whether they are based at home or HQ.

Of note: Not everyone returning to the office is doing so by car. Public transit ridership was up 15% last year, Met Transit announced this week.

The bottom line: Next time you find yourself stuck in Twin Cities traffic, just remember: It could be worse.

  • A six-mile trip in Washington, D.C., was up 97 seconds last year. In Boston, traveling six miles took drivers 86 seconds longer in 2023 compared to 2021.
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