We’ve all heard about the horror stories of living and working in the big city. Places like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have a bitch of a commute. People drive for hours to get to their place of employment, and that’s if they’re lucky enough to hit all the lights and avoid rush hour traffic.
But what if those horror stories are just that – stories? Perhaps we’ve just been hearing the worst of the cases from the loudest of mouths. After all, most people don’t post on Twitter every day about how their morning commute was a typical 20 minutes. The only time you hear from them is to get attention by yelling, “The damn freeway was backed up and it took me 90 minutes to go 10 miles!”
Well, a recent study from the University of Minnesota indicates that this might just be the case.
David Levinson of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies recently took a look at the 51 largest metropolitan areas and searched for job accessibility. The way he defines it, a city that has a lot of jobs within a short commute time for a lot of residents is a pretty okay place to live. After all, it’s not the city’s fault if people choose to live 50 miles away from where they work, or on the other side of a typically congested town.
He broke the statistics down by looking how long it would take people to drive to potential jobs. He gave a heavier weight to jobs reachable within 10 minutes and decreased the bias all the way up to an hour’s commute by car.
The results showed that the biggest cities that we often think of as traffic nightmares actually have the most accessible jobs. The top 10 were, in order, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Jose, Washington, Dallas, Boston, and Houston.
So before you go bashing big cities for being a bitch to work in, think about the choices people make. It’s not the city’s fault that so many people decide to live far from where they work and endure the headaches of slow moving traffic on a daily basis. As long as there are a lot of jobs downtown and a lot of places to live there as well, it’s your own damn fault if you work in a major metro area and have a terrible drive.
The study, “Access Across America,” was published in the Access to Destinations Study by David Levinson, the R.P. Braun/CTS Chair in Transportation Engineering at the University of Minnesota.