Route Research Limited

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Through an analysis of the journeys made in the morning shown in our GPS survey, we have discovered trends in British commuting. Looking at repeat journeys undertaken by 30,000 people, we have discovered:

  • The most common British commute duration is 20 minutes (the mode)
  • The average time taken to do a commute journey is 37 minutes (the mean)
  • During commuting journeys, the average time spent in view of outdoor advertising is 4 minutes. This represents 10% of commuting time
  • The average number of adverts seen while commuting is 31
  • The rate of exposure to advertising is 0.8 frames per minute

Commuter with border

Route's large travel survey, mined for a specific set of data*, shows that by 35 minutes, half of the nation's commuters are at work. 83% of us are at work within the hour.

Commute times, of course, vary across the country. London is a particularly unique place, where working populations significantly increase the number of visitors within the M25 daily.

In London, the most common commute time is 25 minutes; but a large number of people spend over an hour travelling.

Race for the line

Our distribution chart, comprising the commute times for 5,034 people, reflects an analysis undertaken by the University of Chicago into the finish times for 9 million marathon runners. (Read more in the New York Times, here).

Commuting times showing mode

It is possible that the dips identified at 35 minutes and 50 minutes are representative of a goal-oriented mindset. We hypothesise that, in selecting a job location or a place to live- or in choosing a mode of transport- Britons decide based on a maximum time that they wish to spend travelling.

Is it also possible that we 'optimise' our regular travel patterns, to make a commute as efficient as possible? Looking at the data, we may conclude that commuters use time periods as goals. Racing to get to work for a specific time of day may be familiar to many of us.

Trends in demographic groups

1. The age group with the longest commute is the 25-34 age group, at 43 minutes.

2. 25-34 year olds are exposed to advertising at a rate of 1.0 frame per minute while commuting.

3. ABC1s are in view of more than the average number of frames while commuting: 33, compared to an average of 31 for all commuters.

4. Different social groups do not seem to spend differing durations commuting, on average. ABC1s commute for an average 38 minutes per day, while C2DEs spend 36 minutes doing so.

*A commute is here defined as a journey that takes place between 6am and 10am by full time workers, taking the same journey on 4 out of 5 days Monday to Friday. The definition excludes people who drive for a living and who work from home frequently.