How Long is the Perfect Commute?

commuteWhen you are looking for a home, one of the major factors to consider is the location of your workplace in comparison to the location of your home. In other words, how long is the perfect commute?

Thoughts to consider about a long commute (30 minutes or more)

According to recent US Census data, there are a large number of commuters in the Triangle area. Almost 51% of those working in Durham do not live in the county. And 49% of employees in Orange live in another county. How do these commuters feel about having a long commute? There are some pros and cons.

  • You may prefer a longer commute so you can have an opportunity to mentally unwind from the day of work. That way when you arrive at home, you are ready to give all your attention and focus to your family.
  • If the long commute is on public transportation, you can use the time to catch up on email or to read for pleasure or work. Commuting on a bus or rideshare tends to be less stressful because you are not the driver.
  • Many times a longer commute enables you to purchase a more affordable home. In this case, the longer commute time is worth it as a contribution to your overall financial picture.
  • On the downside, the longer the commute, the more likely you are to be affected by traffic backups, road construction, or accidents.
  • Any time you spend commuting is time you are not spending elsewhere.

Thoughts to consider about a short commute (30 minutes or less)

  • Less time on the road means more time at home.
  • Less driving means less money spent on gas and car repairs.
  • If you work in an urban area and you want a short commute, you will need to live in an urban area as well. This may or may not be your preference. You may not be able to have both a large detached single-family home with a yard and a short commute.

work from homeOther considerations:  Can you work remotely?

Working from home cuts out the need for any commute at all.  Do you have the kind of job that would be amenable to telecommuting? If not for every day, perhaps just for a couple days a week? If so, a longer commute may not be as taxing if you don’t need to do it every day.

What about your spouse?

If both spouses work, most couples assume they need to live in the geographic center so each spouse has an equally long commute. But keep in mind personal preferences. If one spouse doesn’t mind a long commute, but the other does, live closer to the workplace of the one who wants the short commute time.


What about the kids?

Commute time effects students as well as workers. Commuting from home can make college affordable for those who would otherwise need to take out hefty loans to afford room and board. Thankfully, no matter where you live in the Triangle area there are loads of educational options close to home. Duke University, North Carolina State University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are the three Tier One universities in the area. There are at least 15 other colleges and universities plus a number of top notch community colleges.

Unique commuting options in the Triangle:

If you are employed by Research Triangle Park, take part in the SmartCommute@RTP program. There are several initiatives for a variety of commuting options such as carpooling, biking to work, and bus service.

The City of Raleigh has also come up with their own initiative for business owners called Commute Smart Raliegh.

Amy Shair ReMax United Cary Durham NC 919-469-6539


If you are moving to the Triangle area or within the Triangle area, you need a well-informed realtor to help you think through your commuting options in regards to choosing your new home. Amy Shair has lived and worked in the Triangle area for over 25 years so she knows first-hand the locations that can give you the commute that is right for you and your family. Contact her today.


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