Region's workers spending more time commuting

Share of commutes longer than 60 minutes is growing

The average travel time to work in the region continues to steadily increase.

Pierce County commuters have the longest average travel time at 32.5 minutes, followed by Snohomish County at 32.3 minutes and Kitsap County at 30.4 min­utes. Commuters in King County had the shortest average commute at 29.9 minutes.

Short vs. long commutes

The share of commuters with long commutes (greater than 60 minutes) is growing. Across the region, the share of travelers with long commutes increased by 47% between 2010 and 2017.

At the other end of the spectrum, the share of travelers with very short commutes (less than 10 minutes) continues to steadily decline. Since 2010, the share of travelers with short commutes has decreased by 26% across the region.

Rise of super commuters

The share of commuters with extremely long com­mutes — 90 minutes one way — is fast increasing in the region.

Since 2010, the population of super commuters in the central Puget Sound region has increased by 75%.

The region now ranks third out of the top 25 metropolitan areas in the nation in the increase in super commuters.

For more data on Travel Time to Work, see our latest issue of Puget Sound Trends.


It would be useful to display this travel time data adjacent metrics on mode split. It would seem the growth in "super commuters" would be stimulated by factors such as housing affordability (need to move outside of urban cores to afford to live), the relatively cheap fuel, and crowded transit (stuck in traffic with horrid travel times). However, maybe these travel times are actually a "win" for transit if it demonstrated people are moving to Orting, for example, for the housing affordability and then taking the train to DT Seattle via Sounder. This would no doubt be a terribly long commute - however, perhaps the worker has arrangements to work during their commute and have this counted as being "on the job" by their employer versus strictly being behind the wheel, learning Portuguese via books-on-tape.

Thanks for your comments! I will pass along to our data team.

Can you somehow account for or show scenarios incorporating the variance in altering the start and end times of "work" (in jobs, companies and sectors where feasible) and the potential benefits of spreading travel out to more hours of the day with some percentage of peak travelers able to migrate to non-peak times to better leverage existing infrastructure? Boeing does it. JBLM? SeaTac peak use versus non-peak use? Others. In addition, leveraging the work remotely lessons learned is a hot topic for obvious reasons. If that dynamic can be leveraged in some coordinated fashion perhaps showing companies and employees when it might be most beneficial for them to work remotely, that might also be of tremendous added value.