How Massachusetts Commutes to Work

Our car-driving, train-riding, walking, and working-at-home methods of getting to the office.

Last week, WNYC in New York released a very cool map showing commute times for the entire United States. While many Boston metro area commuters are near the national average of 25.4 minutes, some take far longer: Workers in Scituate and Norwell, for example, average more than 35 minutes, as do those living in Mattapan. Some neighborhoods in the Back Bay, Cambridge, and the Financial District, meanwhile, are looking at commutes around 20 minutes or under.

Based on the map from WNYC, we can speculate on the causes of the long commutes (driving into the city center; taking multiple buses) and shorter ones (walking or taking the train), but I wanted to find the actual reasons for them—so I created the following maps with commuting method data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

First up, we have car commuters, which massively dominate the state. The dark blue indicates zip codes where over 80 percent of workers take a car to work (either driving alone or carpooling), and includes those long commute areas of Scituate and Norwell:

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Next, we have public transportation commuters, who mostly live in and around Boston. More than 40 percent of commuters in some parts of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Allston take transit to work.

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For our third map, we look at neighborhoods that walk to work. A stunning 56.2 percent of workers in the North End hoof it the office:

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Finally, let’s examine the folks who roll out of bed, make a cup of coffee, and set up shop at the kitchen table or in their home office. A surprisingly high percentage of workers (21.2) in the tiny town of Wendell work at home. It’s also quite popular on the Cape and Islands:

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Dig in, search for your neighborhood, and let us know how you currently commute—and how you might like to.

  • Also Ran

    Sometimes I run to work. Great way to start the day!