Given the continuous gridlock Houston drivers face, it would be safe to assume our fair city faces the worst commute time in Texas and the even the nation. Not so.
A new report by SmartAsset ranks a surprising Texas city as the worst in the Lone Star State for commute time: Garland. The north Texas city ranked No. 3 in the nation for longest commute time, according to the SmartAsset survey.
Garland ranked No. 3 worst, only out-trafficked by two California cities — Stockton and Bakersfield — which came in first and second, respectively. (Another shocker: Los Angeles didn't lead the list, which landed at No. 25.)
Houston doesn't appear until much further down the list at No. 23 — tied with Dallas. The average commute time in Houston is 26.1 minutes, while 5.8 percent of Houstonians face a "severe" commute of 60 minutes or more. Houstonians spend a tiny bit more of their income on transportation costs than Dallas drivers do (9.9 percent vs. 9 percent). In Dallas, the average commute time in Dallas is 25.7 minutes; 6.5 percent of Dallasites face a "severe" commute.
The only other Texas city to land in the top 10 is El Paso, which comes in seventh. The city ranks second overall for transportation costs relative to income, with commuters paying 14.13 percent of their median household income for transportation in the city and surrounding areas, SmartAsset says.
Elsewhere in Texas, city rankings were:
- Arlington, No. 33
- Fort Worth, No. 47
- Irving, No. 50
- Plano, No. 52
- San Antonio, No. 55
- Lubbock, No. 61
- Austin, No. 64
- Corpus Christi, No. 78
- Laredo, No. 81
Interestingly, SmartAsset notes, despite the rise in remote work the past few years, the average commute time went down by only one minute in five years. The national average decreased from 26.6 minutes in 2016 to 25.6 minutes in 2021, they say, while the percentage of remote workers has tripled in about half the time.
"Workers in 2023 will average almost 222 hours (or a little over nine days) driving to and from work," the report says. "And these hours spent in transit cost commuters more than just their time. The price of fuel, public transit passes and other commuter-related costs can add up quickly."