The number of people working from home in the United States more than tripled during the pandemic. According to the Census Bureau, 27.6 million Americans worked primarily from home in 2021, up from just 9 million in 2019. While having a makeshift office in the house makes it difficult for some remote workers to separate themselves from their work at the end of the day, one nearly universally recognized benefit is the elimination of a commute.
The average commuter in the United States spends about 27 minutes getting to work. For the typical, full-time worker, this adds up to about 4 hours and 30 minutes each week, and over 230 hours annually.
For some – particularly those who live and work in densely-populated urban areas – much of that time is spent sitting in traffic. Des Moines is the only city in Iowa with available data from INRIX, a traffic data and analytics company, and therefore ranks as having the worst traffic in the state by default only.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 93,450 people in the city who either drive or carpool to work. Among them, the typical commuter lost an average of 7 hours to traffic in 2022, up 3% from 2021. Of all 280 U.S. cities covered in the INRIX report, Des Moines ranks 205th for traffic delays.
All traffic delay data in this story is from the 2022 Global Traffic Scorecard, from INRIX. Supplementary data on the number of commuters who drive are five year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.
StateCity with the worst trafficTypical hours spent in traffic, 2022Avg. commute time (minutes)Commuters who drive or carpool (%)AlabamaBirmingham242292.8ArizonaPhoenix262693.0ArkansasLittle Rock41895.6CaliforniaSan Francisco973343.8ColoradoDenver542684.0ConnecticutStamford732880.0DelawareWilmington192379.4FloridaMiami1052881.8GeorgiaAtlanta742879.4HawaiiHilo291994.6IdahoBoise71991.4IllinoisChicago1553462.7IndianaIndianapolis242494.8IowaDes Moines71993.7KansasTopeka01795.8KentuckyLexington222192.6LouisianaNew Orleans772382.7MaineBangor81789.2MarylandBaltimore553173.9MassachusettsBoston1343147.3MichiganDetroit232685.9MinnesotaMinneapolis262374.4MississippiJackson42197.1MissouriSt. Louis172385.5MontanaMissoula221685.8NebraskaOmaha141994.9NevadaLas Vegas412692.2New HampshireManchester132495.1New JerseyOcean Township173488.6New MexicoAlbuquerque202294.3New YorkNew York City1174130.0North CarolinaCharlotte252592.8North DakotaFargo01692.4OhioCleveland202384.3OklahomaOklahoma City142296.2OregonPortland722674.5PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia1143362.9Rhode IslandProvidence422484.1South CarolinaGreenville232092.1TennesseeNashville412593.8TexasHouston742891.0UtahOgden142193.0VirginiaFredericksburg243087.6WashingtonSeattle462859.4West VirginiaWheeling121992.8WisconsinMilwaukee322287.5