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Published: Thursday, 3/31/2005

Commute to work takes a bit longer now

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The time Toledoans spend traveling to work is slowly creeping up.

In the latest data analyzed by the U.S. Census Bureau, commuters in Toledo had an average 19 1/2-minute trip to work in 2003, placing the city 13th out of 68 cities. That's up from the previous year, when Toledo had an average commute of 18.1 minutes - making it sixth best that year among 69 of the biggest cities in the country.

Sujatha Mohanakrishnan, transportation engineer with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, said several factors contributed to the increase.

"Sprawl is obviously one," Ms. Mohanakrishnan said. "People have moved further away; so it takes longer to get to work. The other thing could be the construction we have in the area, and also the fact that people own more vehicles per household."

Lucas County commuters spent an average 20 1/2 minutes traveling to work, according the data released yesterday.

Besides Toledo, the other Ohio cities included in the survey were Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus. Ms. Mohanakrishnan noted that Toledo and Ohio still fared better than other regions.

In a ranking of large cities - those with populations of 250,000 or more - New York was at the top with 38.3 minutes followed by Chicago with 33.2 minutes.

Chicago, Riverside, Calif., and Los Angeles were the only cities among those with the highest average travel times that are not located on the East Coast.

In a ranking of the states, Ohio and Michigan fell squarely in the middle of the road.

Based on a ranking of states with the longest average commute-to-work times, the study showed that New York and Maryland residents spent the most time traveling to their jobs - 30.4 minutes and 30.2 minutes, respectively.

For the nation as a whole, the average daily commute to work lasted 24.3 minutes in 2003.

"This annual information on commuters and their work trips and other transportation-related data will help local, regional, and state agencies maintain, improve, plan, and develop the nation's transportation systems," Louis Kincannon, Census Bureau director, said.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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