U.S. Census Bureau: Average one-way commute in Harris County is 26.8 minutes

HOUSTON - Drivers in Houston don't have the longest commute in the nation, but their drives to work are longer than most, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Figures released Tuesday show the average drive time for a one-way trip in Harris County is 26.8 minutes, which is slightly above the national average.

"People in that area don't necessarily have that bad (of) a commute," said Alison Fields, a representative for the Census Bureau.

Many drivers might think otherwise. Officials said 7.6 percent of workers face an hour or longer commute each day. The figure is below the national average.

Many of the drivers could be coming in from another area, Fields said.

"Harris County brings in over 400,000 people on a daily basis," said Fields.

The information can prove to be helpful when it is analyzed.

"Local regional planners can use (the information) to try to figure out how best to spread the dollars," said Fields.

The goal is to find the best solutions to reduce traffic congestion and improve traffic flow.

"Even though people think that their commutes are getting worse, in truth, the average time that people take to commute in the nation has pretty much stayed pretty stable since 2000," said Fields.

According to Fields, part of the stability in commute times is the number of people who decide to change jobs or move to maximize their quality of life and reduce commute times.

The study also found that just more than 10 percent of commuters in Houston use carpool lanes, which is above the national average.

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