Long Commute - Driving Alone

Among workers who commute in their car alone, the percentage that commute more than 30 minutes.

The 2022 County Health Rankings used data from 2016-2020 for this measure.

Reason for Ranking

Longer commuting distances in vehicles have been associated with an increase in blood pressure and body mass index, and a decrease in physical activity.[1] Each extra hour spent in a car every day increases the risk of obesity by 6%.[2] Longer commute times have also been associated with poorer mental health.[3,4]

Key Measure Methods

Long Commute - Driving Alone is a percentage

Long Commute - Driving Alone is the percentage of workers who drive alone with a commute longer than 30 minutes.


The numerator is the number of workers who drive alone (via car, truck, or van) for more than 30 minutes during their commute.


The denominator is the number of workers who drive alone (via car, truck, or van) during their commute.

Can This Measure Be Used to Track Progress

This measure can be used to track progress with some caveats. It is important to note that the estimate provided in the County Health Rankings is a 5-year average. However, for counties with a population greater than 20,000 individuals, single-year estimates can be obtained from the resource listed below.

Data Source

Years of Data Used


American Community Survey, 5-year estimates

The American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationwide survey designed to provide communities with a fresh look at how they are changing. It is a critical element in the Census Bureau's reengineered decennial census program. The ACS collects and produces population and housing information every year instead of every ten years, and publishes both one-year and five-year estimates. The County Health Rankings use American Community Survey data to obtain measures of social and economic factors.

Digging Deeper
Subcounty Area1

This measure can be calculated for census tracts and census block groups using table S0802. These tables can be accessed at https://data.census.gov/cedsci/.


[1] Hoehner CM, Barlow CE, Allen P, Schootman M. Commuting distance, cardiorespiratory fitness, and metabolic risk. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2012; 42(6):571-578.
[2] Frank LD, Andresen MA, Schmid TL. Obesity relationships with community design, physical activity, and time spent in cars. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2004; 27(2):87-96.
[3] Künn-Nelen A. Does commuting affect health? Health Economics. 2016; 25(8):984–1004.
[4] Hilbrecht M, Smale B, Mock SE. Highway to health? Commute time and well-being among Canadian adults. World Leisure Journal. 2014; 56(2):151–163

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When it comes to developing and implementing solutions to problems that affect communities, evidence matters. The strategies below give some ideas of ways communities can harness evidence to make a difference locally. You can learn more about these and other strategies in What Works for Health, which summarizes and rates evidence for policies, programs, and systems changes.

Support a combination of land uses (e.g., residential, commercial, recreational) in development initiatives, often through zoning regulations or Smart Growth initiatives
Introduce or expand transportation options that are available to the public and run on a scheduled timetable (e.g., buses, trains, ferries, rapid transit, etc.)
Modify the built environment to affect traffic speed and patterns via speed humps, pedestrian center crossing islands, roundabouts, etc.
Arrange active transportation with a fixed route, designated stops, and pick up times when children can walk to school with adult chaperones
Use zoning regulations to address aesthetics and safety of the physical environment, street continuity and connectivity, residential density and proximity to businesses, schools, and recreation, etc.

The County Health Rankings provide a snapshot of a community’s health and a starting point for investigating and discussing ways to improve health. Select a state and a measure below to see what’s happening locally.