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15 Best and Worst Commuter Cities in Nebraska

Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

Nebraska is one of the least expensive places to live, the third best-run state in the nation, and the fourth best state for commuters.

On average, workers in the Cornhusker State commute for 17.9 minutes, which is about seven minutes less than most Americans. While this is certainly impressive, we found 15 cities in Nebraska where commutes average a mere 13.1 minutes and 92 percent of workers get to their job in 29 minutes or less and we want to recognize these cities for such an impressive feat.

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To create our best commuter cites list, we analyzed traffic data from the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau survey, which is the most recent, and then identified cities with a population of 3,000 residents or more at the time of this survey.

A long commute can be frustrating, stressful, and increase your car insurance premium. Likewise, a short commute may reduce the hassle of driving to work and help you qualify for a more competitive auto insurance rate. These are a few reasons we’re spotlighting the best commuter cities in Nebraska.

How Commute Length Affects Auto Insurance Premiums

The chance of being involved in an accident increases the longer you spend commuting. As a result, you’re apt to pay more for auto insurance than someone who spends less time on their drive to the office. This is why insurance agents ask how far you commute before giving you an auto insurance quote.

If your commute lengthens, your insurance premium could go up by as much as $10 per month. To find out how the distance of your commute may impact your auto insurance premium, contact your Nebraska auto insurance company.

How Commute Length Affects Quality of Life
A number of studies reveal that long commutes can have negative consequences.

      • A Gallup Poll found that commuters who spend more than 90 minutes getting to work are at greater risk for chronic neck and back pain.
      • Social geographer Erika Sandow notes that when one partner in a marriage commutes longer than 45 minutes a day, the chance the relationship will end in divorce increases by 40 percent.
      • Political Scientist Robert Putnam discovered that, for every 10 minutes a person spends commuting, their social connections drop by 10 percent.
      • A study conducted by the University of California Los Angeles and California State University Long Beach found the number of miles driven each day had a more significant connection to obesity than any other factor analyzed.
      • Scientists discovered that workers who have long commutes are more likely to be tired, worried, and less likely to feel enjoyment than workers who spend less time commuting.
      • Thomas James Christian of Brown University reports that, for every minute of their drive to work, commuters spend less time on healthy activities such as sleeping, exercising, and preparing meals.

As you can see, spending less on car insurance isn’t the only reason to shorten your commute. If you endure a long trip to work, the 15 best commuter cities in Nebraska may encourage you to minimize your time behind the wheel.


The 15 Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska


Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#1 – McCook

The best commuter city in Nebraska is also a great place to launch or grow a business. The city’s Keystone Business Center houses a certified business incubator to help entrepreneurs start their venture. Plus, the McCook Economic Development Corporation offers financial incentives to attract and retain businesses. Initiatives like these increase McCook’s job opportunities, which means residents don’t have to travel far for employment. That could be why nearly 85 percent of locals get to work in 15 minutes or less.

McCook - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#2 – York

Fertile soil, a high quality workforce, and strategic location are a few reasons York appeals to businesses in the agriculture industry. In fact, local companies like Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, and Pioneer Hi-Bred International are helping York earn a reputation as a hotbed of agriculture research and development. Incentives and financing offered by the York County Development Corporation may spur further growth in the sector and help reduce the city’s already enviable commute of 11.8 minutes.

York - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#3 – O’Neill

O’Neil offers a good mix of jobs in areas like ranching, livestock marketing, government services, and manufacturing. So, although three highways run through the city, making a commute to nearby communities like Atkinson and Inman easy, many residents stick close to home to earn a living. As a result, O’Neil workers spend 50 percent less time commuting to their jobs than most Americans.

O'Neill - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#4 – Chadron

Chadron is dissected by the Heartland Expressway, a federally recognized high-priority corridor. Its strategic location and designation as the county seat of Dawes County are two reasons Chadron is recognized as the trade center of the region. The city also boasts a variety of employers, like Wal-Mart, Chadron Community Hospital, and Chadron State College. No matter what industry Chardon residents choose to work in, there is a 92 percent chance they’ll get to their place of employment in 29 minutes or less.

Chadron - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#5 – Broken Bow

Broken Bow is home to several farming-related companies, such as Adams Land and Cattle and Sargent Irrigation, as well as pioneering technology companies, like Becton Dickinson. It also has a powerful  turbine wind farm, community college, and a modern hospital. With diverse employment opportunities like these, it’s no surprise 86 percent of workers get to the office in less than 15 minutes, which is the highest rate of any city on our list.

Broken Bow - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#6 – West Point

West Point leaders play an active role in ensuring its citizens enjoy a short commute. Its economic development program recruits new industries and promotes the expansion of existing businesses, both of which increase local employment opportunities. To help employees find these jobs, the city provides a powerful job search website. These proactive tactics could be why seven in 10 workers get to their job in less than 15 minutes.

West Point - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#7 – Scottsbluff

Scottsbluff is situated in the Nebraska panhandle and surrounded by natural wonders like Scotts Bluff National Monument, Chimney Rock, and Minatare Lake State Recreation Area. So it’s fitting that one of the city’s goals is enhancing community sustainability. To that end, Scottsbluff is soliciting interest from the private sector to develop a Community Solar Project. Exploring high tech industries like this can help Scottsbluff remain a vibrant place to live and work, and keep commute times short.

Scottsbluff - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#8 – Alliance

The eighth best commuter city in Nebraska is a member of the National Main Street Center, which means the city leaders go to great lengths to promote and develop the downtown district. Alliance Main Street offers façade grants to help business owners enhance their properties, and it supports streetscape projects that improve the area’s roads and walkways. These initiatives entice businesses to come to the downtown district and improve logistics, which could be why four out of five Alliance workers commute for less than 15 minutes.

Alliance - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#9 – Gothenburg

We congratulate Gothenburg for its cooperative spirit. Organizations like the Gothenburg Improvement Company, Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce, and the Dawson County Area Economic Development Council work hand-in-hand to help recruit and retain a variety of local businesses. This joint effort could be why Gothenburg is one of only 36 cities in the state to earn designation as a Nebraska Certified Economic Development Community. It might also be why residents don’t have to travel far for work. Nearly 3/4 of Gothenburg locals enjoy a commute of less than 15 minutes.

Gothenburg - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#10 – Lexington

The Nebraska Economic Developers Association named Lexington’s City Manager as the Professional of the Year. He achieved this honor in part due to his strong leadership skills and investment into city improvements. One example of how the city is changing for the better is the multi-phase street and sidewalk construction project that intends to make Lexington’s downtown more attractive to business owners, improve safety, and streamline traffic. Couple projects like this with the fact that 25 percent of the city’s workers carpool and it’s no wonder Lexington commuters get to their job 12 minutes faster than most Americans.

Lexington - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#11 – Sidney

Sidney’s economy tripled over the last 15 years, making it one the fastest growing communities in the Cornhusker State. It also received the Governor’s Cup Award for Economic Development from “Site Selection Magazine,” which recognizes states with the most new businesses per capita. With all of these accomplishments, it makes sense that corporations like Cabela’s and Bell Lumber and Pole Manufacturing choose to expand their operations in Sidney. Despite its rapid growth, which often results in traffic congestion, Sidney residents enjoy a commute that’s almost half the national average.

Sidney - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#12 – Cozad

City leaders work with the Cozad Development Corporation, Cozad Chamber of Commerce, and Dawson Area Development to cultivate a business friendly environment that companies desire. This helps attract new businesses and keeps veteran companies from relocating, which improves the variety of local employment opportunities. Whether they work at a new business or a long established one, nearly 18 percent of Cozad residents carpool to work. That’s almost twice the national carpooling average and the second highest percentage of carpoolers on our list.

Cozad - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#13 – Norfolk

Located in Northeast Nebraska, Norfolk offers abundant recreation, affordable cost of living, and a short average commute time of just 14.3 minutes. Factors like these earned Norfolk the distinction as one of the best communities in the U.S. The city’s proposed Riverfront Trail could further improve the quality of life in Norfolk and encourage residents to walk or bike to work.

Norfolk - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#14 – Columbus named Columbus the 41st best small city in America based on its economic health, quality of life, and affordability. But it’s also a great place for business. The Columbus Area Business Opportunities website offers employers critical information for starting, relocation, or expanding their business in the city. Plus, Columbus’ Home Town Competitiveness organization includes a task force created specifically to support entrepreneurs. Resources like these help promote a diverse economy and a variety of job opportunities that keep locals working close to home. As a result, 3/4 of Columbus residents commute for less than 15 minutes.

Columbus - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

#15 – Holdrege

Holdrege is a tight-knit community where residents enjoy small town values and wealth of amenities. Employers value Holdrege’s designation as an Economic Development Certified Community. Among other benefits, this means the city qualifies for more grants, which can be used to help businesses expand. On top of all this, Holdrege’s average commute is 40 percent faster than most cities in the U.S.

Holdrege - Best Commuter Cities in Nebraska

15 Worst Commuter Cities in Nebraska/h3>

On average, residents of the worst commuter cities in Nebraska spend 20.7 minutes behind the wheel. So, although the cities listed below are technically Nebraska’s least commuter-friendly, residents still get to work five minutes faster than most Americans.

15 Worst Commuter Cities in Nebraska

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To determine the rankings, Obrella analyzed traffic data from the 2013 survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Considering only Nebraska cities whose population exceeded 3,000 at the time of this report, Obrella analysts sorted cities by average commute time and used other available data points to help visualize the breakdown of commute types and commute lengths. Please contact [email protected] with any questions about this report.

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