COMMUTING IN AMERICA….Via James Joyner, it appears that the Transportation Research Board has released its third study on commuting patterns and trends. As you can see in the chart below, the main finding is pretty stark: the number of workers has increased by 31 million since 1980 while the number of workers who drive alone to work has increased by 34 million. Despite the population increase, carpooling is down (except in the West), transit use is down (except in the West), walking is down, and motorcycle use is down. The only bright spot is an increase in people like me, who work from home.

The author of the report also produced a “top ten” list of commuting tidbits. Here are the top five:

  1. Sharp increases in proportion of workers traveling more than 60 and even more than 90 minutes to work.

  2. Rise of the ?donut? metro; big work flows in to and out to the suburbs.

  3. Continued, pervasive, and substantial increases in working at home.

  4. Significant increases in percentage of workers leaving for work before 6 am.

  5. Dramatic increases in those workers leaving their home county to work.

Why are more people leaving for work before 6 am? The increase seems to be way out of proportion to the average growth in commuting time, which has risen only four minutes in the past 20 years.