Houston’s number of ‘super commuters’ explodes

by Joe Ward

Residents of modest means increasingly can’t afford to live in major urban centers, and the result is taking a toll on our highways and commutes.

As more people seek cheaper housing away from inner cities, the number of “super commuters” – or those traveling 90 minutes or more one way – has increased exponentially, according to a new study.

Nationwide, one in 36 commuters in 2016 traveled 90 minutes or more to work each day, according to Apartment List. That’s an increase of 16 percent when compared to 2006 figures, when about 3 million were classified as super commuters, the apartment search website reports.

Large metros with robust economies have seen the biggest jump in the number of super commuters as jobs and people increasingly concentrate in major cities. Houston is no exception.

The number of those with 90-plus minute commutes in the area has increased by 23.5 percent from 2005 to 2016, Apartment List reports. Nearly 77,000 area residents, or about 2.6 percent of the working population, has such a commute.

Areas like the Northeast and Northwest have seen the biggest jump in super commuters because they are densely populated-yet-sprawling areas, according to Apartment List. Houston’s increase in super commuters can be chalked up to its robust job market.

The trend is likely to continue as more jobs and people relocate to major urban areas.

“As more households are priced out of expensive cities and inner suburbs, without major investment in public transit, the growth in the share of super commuters is like to continue,” the website reads.

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