Which Americans Have The Longest Commutes? Take a Look

Jeff Topping/Getty Images
Jeff Topping/Getty Images

A long commute affects more than just whether or not you’ll get to work on time. Spending hours getting to and from the office (especially by car) can make you feel worse about your job and affect your health. Which U.S. areas have the most soul-crushing commutes? Chase Sawyer, a statistician who runs the visualization site Overflow Data, recently mapped out the answer, as CityLab reports.

Using data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey collected between 2011 and 2015, Sawyer created an interactive graphic that examines average commute time across the U.S. Unsurprisingly, commute times near New York City and Washington, D.C. are some of the longest. (Ditto for the Denver area.) Commute times in much of the Midwest are rather short, and in Alaska, they're virtually nonexistent.

You can play with the interactive version of the graphic on the Overflow Data site.

The data, organized by county, shows that Pike County, Pennsylvania (which is part of the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area) technically has the longest average commute time in the nation, clocking in at 44 minutes. Most of the other super-long commutes are taken by New York City workers, including in the Bronx and Brooklyn, where the average commute times are all more than 40 minutes long. Meanwhile, in some Alaskan counties, average commutes can be as short as five minutes long (meaning many people likely live and work in the same location).

Bear in mind that not every commute looks the same, and how you get to work is as important as how long it takes you. Workers in Brooklyn and the Bronx might be spending an hour on the train each way, but research has shown that workers who take public transit are much happier than those who drive. So a 40-minute commute in a metropolitan area on a train might be nowhere near as awful as a gridlocked commute in a suburban area would be. We're looking at you, Southern California.

[h/t CityLab]

After Seven Years, Melbourne Has Been Displaced as the World's Most Liveable City

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iStock

We should all move to Vienna. That's what the Economist Intelligence Unit recommends: In a new report, it ranked Austria's capital as the world's most liveable city. With a score of 99.1 out of 100, Vienna beat out Melbourne for the top spot, which the Australian city had held onto for the past seven consecutive years. This is the City of Music's first time being number one.

The survey ranks 140 cities worldwide based on five categories: stability (including crime and terrorism); healthcare; culture and environment (including level of censorship, temperature, and cultural offerings); education; and infrastructure (including public transportation, housing, energy, and water). Overall, there were improvements in safety and stability this year for the countries surveyed.

Vienna scored a perfect 100 in four out of five categories. The only area in which the city could use a tiny bit of improvement is in culture and environment—though its 96.3 score is still pretty impressive.

The cities that scored best on the list tend to be mid-sized with low population densities and located in wealthy countries. The world's biggest urban centers, such as New York, London, and Paris, may be popular places to live for their unbeatable food and culture, but high levels of crime, congestion, and public transportation issues make quality of life less desirable and drag them down in the rankings.

The top 10 most liveable cities are:

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Melbourne, Australia
3. Osaka, Japan
4. Calgary, Canada
5. Sydney, Australia
6. Vancouver, Canada
7. Toronto, Canada
8. Tokyo, Japan
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Adelaide, Australia

And here are the 10 least liveable cities:

131. Dakar, Senegal
132. Algiers, Algeria
133. Douala, Cameroon
134. Tripoli, Libya
135. Harare, Zimbabwe
136. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
137. Karachi, Pakistan
138. Lagos, Nigeria
139. Dhaka, Bangladesh
140. Damascus, Syria

How Google Maps Typos Grow Into Real Neighborhood Names

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iStock

The borders and names of city neighborhoods have long been a source of contention. But for most of history, the bickering has been limited to the residents, real estate agents, and shop owners working and living in the actual areas in question. Now, there's a much less personal—and more powerful—force that's revising urban landscapes around the world: Google Maps.

If you've recently come across a neighborhood you've never heard of in the city you've lived in for years, Google may be to blame. According to The New York Times, the digital navigation service is responsible for popularizing names like the East Cut, the now-default title of the San Francisco neighborhood previously known as Rincon Hill, South Beach, or South of Market.

The app is also responsible for the neighborhoods Midtown South Central, Vinegar Hill Heights, and Rambo—names which would likely get you stares if you said them to a life-long New Yorker. Los Angeles is now home to Silver Lake Heights, a name that first appeared on real estate listings as a joke, and in Detroit there's Fishkorn, Google's misspelled version of the neighborhood once known as Fiskhorn.

The engineers at Google Maps don't make up new neighborhood names on a whim. According to the company, the maps are based on third-party data, public sources, satellites, and user submissions. But sometimes these sources contain typos or are just plain wrong. And the information is usually reviewed by someone with no connection to the cities whose maps they're programming, making it easy for glaring errors to slip into the code.

Even the most seasoned cartographers make mistakes, but when Google messes up, the impact reaches far. More than 63 percent of people who opened a navigation app on their phone or tablet in May 2018 used Google Maps. And even if people don't use Google Maps directly, they've likely seen information from the app secondhand on real-estate listings, food-delivery websites, and elsewhere.

If you spot a neighborhood in Google's app that you feel is totally made up, you can tell them about it. Just head over to Google Support to report the error.

[h/t The New York Times]

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