Here’s How Much Time Americans Have Saved By Not Commuting Over the Last Year (by City)

Eric Brantner

Let’s start by making the understatement of the century — the last year has been hard.

COVID-19 has turned the entire world upside down, and so many of us have lost family members and friends to this terrible disease. It’s also forced us to change so many of our daily habits and live our lives in a completely different manner.

But for all of the negatives, there have been some positive things to come of this pandemic. One of which is way more people have been working from home for the past year, avoiding the exhausting, stressful, time-consuming, and toxic-for-the-environment commutes that tens of millions of Americans have suffered through day in and day out for years. The future of remote work has greatly improved over the last year.

As freelancers, we already know how great it is to work from home, but now, millions of Americans have gotten a taste of the good life too — and they don’t want to go back. Telecommuting will likely continue long after the pandemic, and for good reason.

Numerous studies have found that commuting is one of the biggest sources of stress for adults, and with the average commute getting longer each year, it’s easy to see why workers want to stay remote. Time spent behind the wheel stuck in traffic is time lost — time not spent with family and friends, partaking in a hobby, enjoying a delicious meal, getting things done around the house, or just relaxing.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the pandemic forcing millions of Americans to start working from home, we got to thinking — exactly how much time has the average person saved by not having to commute over the last 12 months?

Using US Census Bureau data, we studied the commute times in 152 major cities across the country. What we found was shocking. The average American has saved over a week – 8.6 days – of time stuck behind the wheel driving to and from work over the last 12 months. 

And for those of us who are already freelancers, that’s how much time we get back every year by not having to work in an office!

Sure, the last year has been anything but fun. But getting more than a week of your life back by not having to commute is certainly a silver lining for many workers.

1. Interactive Map

2. Our Methodology

3. How to Use the Map


The Map

Our Methodology

So, how did we arrive at the amount of time people have saved by not commuting over the last year?

The first thing we had to do was calculate how many days the average person works in a year. There are 52 weeks in a year, and the typical full-time employee works 5 days a week. That comes out to 260 working days in a full calendar year, but you also have to factor in vacation time and sick days. Recent studies show that the average American worker takes 17.2 days off work each year. So that means the average American works about 242.8 days each year.

After coming up with that number, we used US Census Bureau data on average commute times for cities and towns across America. From there, it was simple math.


How to Use the Map

The map embedded above is totally interactive and covers over 150 cities and towns across the US. If you’re curious about how many days you saved over the last year by not having to commute to work, just zoom in on the map to your area, click the nearest dot, and check out the data in the box that pops up! You can also enter your city in the search bar at the top of the map to find data for your area.

Note for mobile users: The map may display better if you flip your device horizontally.


  1. Isaac Eiland-Hall

    Maybe there’s an error? I was looking at Dallas and there are two circles. Zooming in, one if over downtown and one is…. just slightly south of downtown. Very much Dallas.

  2. Gelectrician

    I really don’t see how this means much to any one person. Unless you just happen to be driving the avg commute time for that city. I live south of Philly and commute just shy of NYC 5-6 days/wk. It’s a 2 hr round trip on a good day. And I wish there were a lot more good days!

    So how would this map be helpfu HD

  3. Gelectrician

    Correction to my statement above…
    -4hr round trip-

  4. Shreelac

    How do you calculate how much longer you worked because you just kept working?

  5. Doug Hohulin

    Is 1 day = 8 hours of savings? May be better to do the calculation in Days

    The greenest and safest Km/mile you can travel is by traveling virtually.

    As many as 42,060 people died on U.S. roads last year (2020), or 8% more than in 2019, according to preliminary data released by the NSC. Combined with a 13% decline in vehicle-miles traveled, the rate of death on American roads jumped 24% year over year — the sharpest spike the NSC has measured since 1924,

    Covid reduced travel and CO2 emissions (in the US 11% in 2020) and accelerated TelePresence Technology in 2020/2021. The Climate Emergency and the need to reduce our carbon emissions will encourage humanity to continue to use TelePresence into the 2020s. CO2 emissions is expected to grow in 2021 as people start to travel more.
    If we are to achieve our sustainability goals, we need to have a TelePresence focus on how we do business in the 2020s.

    “It’s likely in 20 years that we’ll look back on those days when we traveled all over the world to have business meetings as a somewhat insane practice.” Peter Diamandis paraphrased


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