On the road again and again

Number of North Texas 'super commuters' driven up by almost 50 percent

Number of North Texas 'super commuters' driven up by almost 50 percent

Dallas highway signs with Reunion Tower
"Super commuters" travel 90-plus minutes each way. Eduardo Garcia/Getty Images

Long commutes are nothing new in North Texas. In 2019, the average worker in Dallas-Fort Worth spent nearly 29 minutes commuting to work each day and another 29 minutes going home.

Some workers in North Texas, however, spend far more time traveling by car or other modes of transportation. In fact, the number of so-called “super commuters” — those traveling at least 90 minutes to get to work, and another 90 minutes or more to get home — rose 49 percent in the region from 2010 to 2019. That’s according to a new analysis by Apartment List of data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The 49 percent growth rate in super commuters here compares with 45 percent for the U.S. regions included in the study and a 25 percent growth rate for the regional workforce from 2010 to 2019.

The analysis dives into commuting data for combined statistical areas, which are a combination of adjacent metropolitan and micropolitan areas. Therefore, in the case of this region, the data encompasses more than just the 11-county DFW metro area.

Apartment List’s analysis found there are 84,000 super commuters in the North Texas combined statistical area, representing 2.2 percent of the workforce. Henderson County — a little over 80 miles southeast of Dallas — had the highest share of super commuters (7 percent). Nationally, super commuters made up 3.1 percent of the workforce in 2019.

According to Apartment List, the rise of remote work “is unlikely to meaningfully alleviate” the long-term trend of more American workers becoming super commuters.

“Since the start of the pandemic, the fastest rent growth in large metros has been occurring in the further suburbs and exurbs, indicating that hybrid remote work arrangement[s] could create a new class of part-time super commuters,” Apartment list notes.

If you think the increase in super commuting in North Texas is worthy of honking your horn in disgust, consider that super commuting soared 68 percent in the Houston combined statistical area from 2010 to 2019. It’s the only other Texas region that appeared in the Apartment List study.

Houston ranks 10th among the regions in the study for the number of super commuters in 2019 — 85,445, representing a 2.6 percent share of the workforce.

Stockton, California, notched the biggest share of super commuters in the study (25 percent of the workforce). Elsewhere in Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Area saw the largest growth rate for super commuting from 2010 to 2019 — a whopping 255 percent.