Lending Tree has put out a study of the annual costs of commutes in US cities. It evaluates this by using the average salaries in the cities, applied to the yearly number of hours spent commuting. It’s hard to know how this relates to happiness. I’m just giving the cost for California cities.
The average one-way commutes range from 19 minutes to 42 minutes, or about a factor of two. The average salaries ranges from $82,000 to $27,000. Should the high salary people be unhappier because the commute is equivalent to about $13,000 a year, or overjoyed because they are going to such high paying jobs, and back to beautiful suburbs? It really is hard to say that the time spent commuting is of any less value on a human basis, irregardless of salary, or average salary. And, everybody has their own personal evaluation, especially if there are daily traffic jams.
We had previously covered the INRIX Traffic Scorecard of the number of peak hours per year spent in heavy congestion. Not surprisingly, Los Angeles came out as the top city in the world, with 104 hours, or over two and a half working weeks per year.
Lending tree ranks the cities by costs, rather than only commute times, but I give both data. It’s easy to do your own personal calculation, no matter where you live. The costs do not include gas or vehicle wear, since they vary with the vehicle and traffic.
Of course, with self driving vehicles we will have some more free time. And with local office complexes and with communications allowing home area offices, long commutes can be avoided, not to mention the stress that goes along with commuting.
|Rank-City||Commute Time in Minutes||Annual Cost|
|2 San Francisco||33.8||$11,719|
|9 San Jose||31.3||$8,782|
|15 Chula Vista||30.3||$7,211|
|19 Long Beach||31||$6,515|
|22 Los Angeles||31.8||$6,108|
|27 San Diego||24.7||$5,769|
|80 Santa Ana||26.1||$3,927|