Researcher says average commute time is on par with national average.
You might sit in it every day, crawling up and down a freeway-to and from work. Just how long your commute is depends of course on your perspective-along with where you live, and where you work. Regardless of those factors though-one thing is very clear these days.
"We still find in our surveys, the vast majority of people drive to work, and they drive alone to work," said Rice University Sociologist Steven Klineberg, adding that there is a change taking place right before our eyes.
"We drive. But we're in the process of transitioning toward alternatives to the automobile. We have an eight-mile light rail system, to which is being added 30-miles," Klineberg said.
Still, there is a reputation that says Houston is among the worst in the nation when it comes to how much time you spend behind the wheel. But some new research is looking to change that thinking-finding an average commute of 27-minutes in the Houston Metropolitan Area.
"If you were in Europe, you would be looking in an urban area of Houston's size at a commute of 40-minutes at least. If you were in Asia-with all of the wonderful high speed rail systems and everything, you'd be looking at closer to an hour," said Demographia's Wendell Cox, who said he has found flaws in how officials crunch the average commute time in Houston.
Meanwhile, some insist Houston's relative lack of zoning rules serves to help keep commute times down.
"All the jobs downtown-all of the shopping in this little area, and we'll put all of the residential in this area. By definition, that usually ends up putting things a little further apart-and less convenient," said Houston Strategies Blog Editor Tory Gattis.
As for that transition that's taking place, Klineberg said a number of Houston's Suburbs are developing city-like identities of their own-and that could well impact average commutes down the road.
Copyright © 2003-2013 Clear Channel. All rights reserved.