America’s Heinous Commutes, Mapped in Pretty GIFs
If you’re one of the 128.3 million Americans who travel to work every day, chances are that your commute sucks. Dragging yourself out of bed is horrible enough, but couple that with traffic, construction, delays, ill-mannered drivers, poorly-constructed bike lanes, and the fact that your favorite podcast is slowly going downhill—slumping into your office chair is a relief.
And yet, Mark Evans has managed to make that collective experience bewitching—beautiful, even. Using data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey covering 2006 through 2010, Evans built an interactive map that charts the daily work-related travels of every person in the United States.
The map, which currently lives on Evans’s personal blog, allows anyone to look at commutes to or from the county of their choice. Once you set a location, sit back and watch the sea of dots (the colors are based on popular destinations or origins) flow back and forth.
Evans embarked on the project after seeing similar project mapping the hellacious reality of commuting in the Bay Area. The entire thing took him about 40 hours, he says. Even his dog liked the result, staring at the computer screen and all but falling into a trance.
We picked out a few interesting examples to give you a taste of Evans’ project. Above, watch those poor Los Angeles county schmucks who travel 20 to 100 miles to get to work everyday. The green dots are travelers bound for far-flung destinations that are still in LA County, the yellow are folks heading to Orange County, the orange to Kern County, the purple to San Bernardino, and the blue to other locations. The commute data is accurate down to the neighborhood, so you get a pretty precise portrait of relatively long LA commutes.
Below are the even more desperate and sleep-deprived humans of the northeast—1,101 of them—who commute an amazing 100 to 300 miles to Manhattan each day. Some of these folks are borderline Canadians. So stop complaining about your daily travels, because they’ve got it worse.
On the other hand, Evans’s commute his pretty simple—he’s currently retraining himself as a data scientist, and usually works from an Ann Arbor, Michigan, coffee shop just a few miles down the road from his home. Take a gander at one of those green dots below, in the map of commuters traveling between zero and 100 miles from the Mitten State’s Washtenaw County. That could be him.
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