A new Gallup poll found workers spending at least some time working from home increased by 5 percent. Which means 6.8 million people get to skip the harsh traffic that hits around 9 am and 5 pm everyday. But even with fewer folks on the road, commutes are getting longer. The 2015 Census found the average American's commute went up 24 seconds over the year before, to 26.4 minutes. That may not sound like much, but when you add that up a 9-to-5-er will now lose three hours and twenty minutes per year to driving.
It also seems more people are now traveling longer for work. Forty-five minute and hour long commutes saw huge increases. Workers with commutes of an hour and a half or more, which sounds like a special kind of hell, grew a whooping eight percentage points in one year. The percentage of workers with short commutes of 10 minutes or less actually shrank.
As well as longer, our commutes are becoming more dangerous. Fatalities on America's roads have sharply increased since 2014. And last year was the first time crash fatalities rose above 40,000 in over a decade. Both the increase in drive times and the increase in fatalities can be tied partially to a stronger economy. More people at work means more cars on the roads, leading to heavier traffic and high instances of crashes. And it's not just physical injuries that drivers with long commutes face. A study released in 2014 found people with longer commutes in cars were significantly less happy than those who rode bikes or walked to work.