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How the World Commutes: A Sneak Peak

  • Things To Know
  • Natasha Young
  • 4 minutes

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The pandemic is still in the air, but commuting is almost full-blown worldwide. Is it necessary? How does commuting affect us on a daily basis? Well, that’s another topic for discussion. Here’s some info on how the world commutes and who loves to commute post-pandemic. 

How the world commutes 

Since the new normal, most of us get to work remotely or work from home. But most companies aren’t keen on it anymore, and we’ve got to get to the office. It’s not much of an inconvenience for people who live near their workplace. Others, however, must find their way to work by whatever means available. 

Commuters walk at a train station in Sao Paulo, Brazil, during the morning rush hour.

Photo by Paulo Whitaker/Reuters 

According to Statista’s survey, half of the workforce in the countries said they drive themselves to work (or school/university). More than half of the world’s population currently resides in urban settings, where the private car’s utility is increasingly questioned. The most common transportation options in each region of the world are summarized in this infographic. 

75% of respondents indicated that the United States has the highest proportion of commuters driving their vehicles compared to the other nations. The car, therefore, is still a major contributor to infrastructure spending in the United States.  

How the world commutes
Source: Statista

However, in countries like South Korea, its prevalence is far lower, making it 53% in the survey. Most Koreans, almost 40%, do not own a car and prefer public transportation (such as subways, buses, and trains). In China, where 23% of respondents said they often used shared self-service vehicles (such as electric scooters, bicycles, cars, etc.), the study found that these vehicles were the most popular. 

In Germany and UK, almost 65% of commuters prefer commuting in their cars. And the next share goes to public transport. In countries like Brazil, commuters prefer rideshares similar to China. 

Modes of transportation by city 

It’s evident that cars are the most popular mode of transportation. Based on the commuters of 2021, the following major cities use cars as their primary mode of transportation: 

  • Miami (92.10%) 
  • Houston (89.95%) 
  • Los Angeles (88.02%) 
  • Washington (64.40%) 
  • Melbourne (53.50%) 

Commuters in both New York City (43%) and Tokyo (59.60%) use public transportation, as may be expected. However, the majority of commuters in Phnom Penh (56.6%) and Hanoi (57%) use motorcycles. 

While 43% of commuters in the world’s “cycling capital,” Amsterdam, choose to ride their bikes to work, 38.60% of The Hague residents feel the same way. It’s also worth noting that Helsinki is one of the few cities where bus or trolley bus ridership exceeds 2%.  

Who loves to commute? 

While older Millennials were resolute about not returning to their auto commutes, a survey of 1,200 people conducted in Australia and New Zealand by Here.com found that members of Generation Z who travel by car feel more pulled to it post-pandemic.  

The oldest members of Gen X (those over the age of 45) were the staunchest in their sentiments toward commuting (50% claimed they hadn’t changed their minds). The biggest percentage of respondents, 43%, came from the 18–24-year-old bracket. The results were highest for those between the ages of 35 and 44, with 39% saying they no longer wanted to make the long journey. For individuals 25–34 years old, the picture was more complicated. 

Source: Statista

According to the survey’s creators, younger Millennials are ready to return to work so they may mingle in a professional setting. In contrast, older Millennial workers would rather spend time with their loved ones. But, of course, Gen Z is only getting started in the workforce, whereas older Millennials have presumably endured years of commuting and have greater commitments at home. 

80% of those who took the survey drove alone to work each day. As of September 2021, just 39% of respondents felt that a commute of 20-40 minutes was acceptable, down from 44% before the epidemic. Bicyclists, pedestrians, and (to a lesser extent) public transit riders are the group whose commuter attitudes did not shift due to COVID-19. 

how the world commutes


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