Here’s a question we’ve probably all asked ourselves while driving to and from work: Wouldn’t it be great to move somewhere where the commute was shorter? Wouldn’t you know it; the Census Bureau actually tracks that!
Last fall, I looked at the number of workers in a county commuting from county to county. Today, I’ll consider the average time it takes a commuter within each county to get to and from work. If time in the car factors into overall happiness (and if you’ve ever been stuck in rush hour traffic, you’d agree it does), then within which counties might you want to live? Table 1 shows the average commute time for each county in the state as well as some possible correlations that might explain that commute time: workers in the commuting flow, percent of commuters working within the county, and the land area of the county.
Using a scatter plot and the correlation coefficient, I considered three possible reasons for commute times:
- Number of commuters within a particular county;
- Land area of each county; and
- Number of commuters within a county commuting outside of that county.
I found little or no correlation to both the number of commuters and the land area of a county and commute times. However, there is definitely a correlation between commute time and the number of commuters traveling outside of the county to get to work (big shocker, I’m sure).
Finally, I wanted to explore commute times by class of county. Graph 1 shows the results.
The best place to live in Utah to avoid long commutes is in a fifth class county. The worst is in Utah’s first class county (barely edging out the third class counties with an average commute time of 22.3 versus 22.0). The reason for Salt Lake County’s long commutes (congestion) varies from the third class counties’ long commutes (distance), but they still add up to more time in the car. If you live in any of those counties, you might want to stock up on some good books on tape.
If you have a subject you’d like UAC to explore in a future Counties by the Numbers article, please email Arie Van De Graaff at firstname.lastname@example.org.