40 Best and Worst Commuter Cities in New Jersey
With 1,189 residents per square mile, New Jersey is the third most densely populated state in America. That could be why the average New Jersey resident commutes for 29 minutes one way, which is four minutes longer than the national average.
The state’s dense population may also contribute to its high percentage of “mega-commuters,” defined as workers who commute an hour or more. At 14 percent, only New York has more mega-commuters than The Garden State.
The good news is, there are plenty of New Jersey communities where long commutes aren’t a problem, and we’ve identified 40 of them. Not only is the average commute time of the best commuter cities in New Jersey on par with the national average, the percentage of mega-commuters is just seven percent, which is slightly lower than the U.S. average and half the state average.
Many people don’t think about how the length of their commute can affect their life, but it’s more than just a nuisance. In addition to less stress, workers who endure shorter commutes may pay less for auto insurance. Just the opposite is true for those with longer commutes. That is why we’re spotlighting the best commuter cities in New Jersey.
To create our list of the 40 best commuter cities in New Jersey, Obrella looked at the 2013 Census Survey and identified cities with more than 10,000 residents. Then we analyzed the most recent survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau and looked at the traffic data of those cities.
Click here to see the worst commuter cities in New Jersey.
How Commute Length Affects Auto Insurance Premiums
The more time you spend on the road commuting, the greater the chance you could be involved in an accident, making you a greater risk to your insurance company, so your auto insurance premium will typically be higher. That’s why when you shop for auto insurance the agent asks how far you commute. Be prepared to give the agent an accurate figure, and don’t forget to update your provider if your commute shortens or lengthens.
If a job change or move to a new city lengthens your commute, your monthly insurance premium could increase by as much as $10. You should contact your New Jersey car insurance company to ask how your commute may affect your premium.
How Commute Length Affects Quality of Life
From reducing your time with friends and family to feeling tired, the time you spend getting to and from work can negatively impact your quality of life. Here are some eye-opening facts about how the length of your daily commute can affect your well-being.
- A report from Thomas James Christian of Brown University states the more time a person spends commuting, the less time they spend involved in healthy activities such as exercising, resting, and preparing meals.
- Research conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles and California State University, Long Beach, revealed that length of commute had a stronger correlation with obesity than any other factor analyzed.
- Political Scientist Robert Putnam found that for every 10 minutes a person spends commuting, their social connections are reduced by 10 percent.
- According to a study by social geographer Erika Sandow, when one partner in a marriage commutes longer than 45 minutes a day, the marriage is 40 percent more likely to end in divorce.
- According to a Gallup Poll, commuters who travel for more than 90 minutes are at a higher risk for neck problems and chronic back pain.
- The longer a person commutes, the more likely they are to feel tired. Long commutes also increase feelings of anxiety and decrease feelings of pleasure.
If you have a long commute, there’s a good chance it’s negatively impacting your health, social connection, and finances. From carpooling to using mass transit, relocating or changing jobs, there are ways you can minimize how long you spend behind the wheel.
The 40 Best Commuter Cities in New Jersey
#1 – Totowa
You know what they say about location, and Totowa has got it. Situated less than 15 miles from three major cities Patterson, Trenton, and Manhattan Totowa residents have a variety of employment opportunities available to them. That could be why a remarkable 80 percent of workers can get from home to the office in 29 minutes or less. More than three percent of Totowa workers telecommute, which is the highest percentage of any city on our list.
#2 – Middle Township
Middle Township is located in Southern New Jersey, between the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Its central location and access to the Garden State Parkway helps ensure residents don’t waste their day behind the wheel. In fact, four out of 10 Middle Township citizens spend less than 15 minutes getting to or from work.
#3 – Gloucester City
Historic Gloucester City offers residents a number of perks. For starters, the city’s property taxes are more affordable than 96 percent of New Jersey communities, and its median house value is significantly less than the state average.
Gloucester City is located near the Walt Whitman Bridge, which could be why roughly one third of residents make the trip to work in less than 30 minutes. Only four percent of workers commute for more than 60 minutes, which is the lowest percentage of any city on our list.
#4 – Pleasantville
Due to it close proximity to Atlantic City, New Jersey’s gambling hub, we weren’t surprised to find that Pleasantville has a robust entertainment industry, or that one out of five residents work in the food service sector.
Pleasantville deserves praise for its high percent of carpoolers and mass transit users. Nearly twice as many people carpool in Pleasantville than in the typical American city, and almost three times as many workers take advantage of mass transit.
#5 – Millville
More than one third Millville residents work in their hometown. Those who are employed in the much larger city of Vineland can get to the office in about 15 minutes via Route 47, or in about 25 minutes using mass transit.
Three quarters of Millville citizens enjoy a commute of 29 minutes or less, and almost 40 percent make the trip in less than 15 minutes.
#6 – Somers Point
Situated on Greate Egg Harbor Bay, Somers Point is approximately 10 miles south of Atlantic City. Move to Somers Point and you can expect to enjoy quaint neighborhoods, easy access to the beach, and a short commute. In fact, there’s a seven in 10 chance your trip to work will take 29 minutes or less.
More good news: a bicycle and pedestrian plan is in the works so you might be able to leave your car at home and get some exercise on the way to work.
#7 – Ewing Township
If you’re a single woman who wants a good paying job, you owe it to yourself to learn more about Ewing Township. When compared to similar sized cities across the U.S., single women in Ewing Township are some of the highest paid.
Of the 40 best commuter cities that made our list, Ewing Township had one of the highest percentages of telecommuters, and also one of the highest percentages of residents who commute for 29 minutes or less.
#8 – Vineland
Vineland is perfect for families. Not only is the Atlantic Ocean less than an hour away, Vineland also boast a cost of living that’s lower than the national average, and its schools spend 40 percent more per pupil than the typical American city.
If you live in Vineland, you’ll spend less time commuting and have more time to enjoy being with your loved ones. Roughly 40 percent of Vineland workers commute for less than 15 minutes, and an impressive 13 percent carpool.
#9 – Pennsville Township
Pennsville Township is located in semi-rural Salem County. The closest large city is Wilmington, Delaware, which is about 15 miles west via the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
Pennsville Township is surrounded by water on three sides, so residents typically stick close to home for work. More than 30 percent of jobs in Pennsville Township are in the manufacturing, education, and healthcare fields. At just four percent, Pennsville Township’s rate of mega-commuters is roughly half the national average.
#10 – Dover
The northern New Jersey city of Dover has a reputation as a walkable community because most of its significant areas are less than a half of a mile from downtown. Dover residents who work outside the city limits can easily get to the office using the transit rail system.
One out of five Dover residents share a ride to work, which is more than twice the national carpooling rate. Only two other communities on our list, New Brunswick and Trenton, had a lower rate of workers commuting solo.
#11 – Manville
The commute time in Manville is on par with the national average, and 74 percent of residents make the trip to work in less than 29 minutes. When they get to the office, one third are employed in administrative, sales, or management positions.
Residents of Manville not only enjoy reasonable commutes, they also benefit from low crime. The chance of being a victim of violent crime in Manville is less than one percent; that’s 75 percent lower than the violent crime rate of the typical U.S. community.
#12 – Bellmawr
If you have kids and appreciate small town living, Bellmawr has a lot to offer. The New Jersey State Aquarium, Camden Children’s Garden, and Adventure Aquarium are all within driving distance of commuter friendly Bellmawr.
Call quaint Bellmawr home and you can easily access the many job opportunities Philadelphia has to offer. Make the 10 mile drive yourself, or leave your car at home and take the commuter train. Any way you go about getting to work, there’s a seven in 10 chance the trip will take less than 29 minutes. And thanks to a new highway interchange that’s almost complete, your commute could get even faster.
#13 – Somerville
Dotted with locally owned eateries and boutique specialty shops, Main Street Somerville is the heart of this historic community. If you work downtown, there’s a good chance you can walk or bike to the job. In fact, when compared to other cities of its size, Somerville ranks in the top six percent for the number of residents who walk or bike to work.
We were impressed to discover that more than 35 percent of Somerville adults have a bachelor’s or other advanced degree, which is much higher than the national average of 21 percent. And two Somerville companies, Somerset Medical Center and Ethicon, made FlexJobs.com’s list of the “Best 100 New Jersey Companies for Flexible Jobs.”
#14 – Egg Harbor Township
There are plenty of reasons why Egg Harbor Township’s population has grown by almost 40 percent over the last decade; family friendliness and short commutes are two of them.
Settle in Egg Harbor Township and your kids will enjoy spending summer days at the beach or visiting the Ocean Life Center. And you’ll appreciate the 50 percent chance that your commute to work will take 15 minutes or less. Of the commuter cities on our list, Egg Harbor Township had one of the highest percentages of residents who work at home, at slightly more than two percent.
#15 – Lower Township
Lower Township is a welcoming coastal community situated at the southern tip of New Jersey. Bordered by the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Lower Township’s rather isolated location means locals typically work close to home. That could be why 80 percent of residents can get to work in less than 15 minutes.
In addition to boasting short commutes, Lower Township residents can brag that NJMonthly.com ranked their hometown as one of the “Best Places to Live in New Jersey.”
#16 – Hanover Township
Low taxes, a highly educated workforce, and an outstanding transportation infrastructure make Hanover Township the perfect place to open a business. In fact, two large organizations, UniFirst Corporation and Bayer HealthCare, recently opened for business in Hanover Township.
Hanover Township also offers a vibrant housing market, “blue ribbon” schools, and a commute time that’s in-line with the national average.
#17 – Saddle Brook Township
The Northern New Jersey community of Saddle Brook Township is crisscrossed by several major roadways, including The Garden State Parkway, Interstate 80, and Route 17. Such easy access to these major roadways is one reason why seven in 10 Saddle Brook Township residents get to work in less than 29 minutes.
Saddle Brook Township workers who land a job in the nearby cities of Hackensack, Patterson, or even the Manhattan borough can hop on the commuter train and eliminate the stress of getting behind the wheel.
#18 – Haddon Township
Put down roots in Haddon Township and you’ll not only enjoy a commute that’s four minutes faster than the average New Jersey resident, you’ll also benefit from a reasonable cost of living and small town cohesiveness.
If you’re considering a job in Philadelphia you’ll be glad to hear that Haddon Township has a station on the PATCO high-speed rail line, which transports workers into the heart of the city. More than 12 percent of Haddon Township citizens use mass transit to get to work, which is the second highest percentage of any city on our list.
#19 – Galloway Township
Galloway Township earns our respect for its focus on sustainability. It’s one of only two dozen New Jersey communities to have attained silver designation by Sustainable Jersey, a certification program for cities that implement green policies.
Galloway Township is also the fastest growing communities in Atlantic County and one of the largest municipalities in the state, yet 25 percent of its workers commute for less than 15 minutes. AtlantiCare Health System, the Federal Aviation Administration, and Richard Stockton State College are a few of Galloway Township’s largest employers.
#20 – Borough of Woodland Park
Residents of Woodland Park, previously named West Patterson, enjoy the best of suburban life, including an abundance of open space, lovely riverside neighborhoods, and safe streets. In fact, the chance of being a victim of violent crime in Woodland Park is one in 4,091, which is significantly lower than the state average of one in 347.
Another perk of living in West Paterson is a reasonable commute. The average West Paterson worker gets from home to the office four minutes faster than the typical New Jersey resident.
#21 – Hammonton
People who grow up in Hammonton are often lured back when it’s time to raise a family of their own, and it’s easy to understand why. Hammonton offers a thriving and expanding business sector, abundant civic organizations, and it’s also one of the safest cities on our best commuter list. The chance of being a victim of crime in Hammonton is roughly 75 percent less than the average American community. Hammonton’s strong community cohesiveness is one reason crime isn’t a problem the “Blueberry Capital of the World.”
A greater percentage of Hammonton residents get from home to work in less than 15 minutes than any other top commuter city in New Jersey.
#22 – Mount Holly Township
Low taxes, great schools, and a variety of recreational opportunities make Mount Holly Township a great place to live, work, and play. Mount Holly Township gives residents the opportunity to work in a big city, but retreat to a more relaxed pace of life at the end of the day.
Close proximity to several of the state’s major roadways helps Mount Holly Township commuters get to and from work in about the same amount of time the average American does and a lucky one third of residents enjoy a commute that’s less than 15 minutes.
#23 – New Brunswick
A bustling city of more than 50,000 residents, New Brunswick’s population more than triples during the work week when college students, corporate workers, and healthcare professionals commute into the city. In fact, New Brunswick is home to Rutgers, American’s largest medical school, Johnson & Johnson’s world headquarters, and two large hospitals.
We were impressed to discover that almost 25 percent of New Brunswick residents carpool to work, which is the second highest percentage on our list. Plus, only 47 percent drive alone, which is the lowest rate of any New Jersey best commuter city.
#24 – West Deptford Township
Stable growth, desirable neighborhoods, and a first-class recreation program are a few reasons why more than 20,000 people call West Deptford Township home.
Another is its ideal location. West Deptford is positioned along the Delaware River, and is convenient to the Interstate 295 corridor. It’s also 20 minutes from Philadelphia and halfway between Washington D.C. and New York City, which makes it appealing to major companies like NuStar, Johnson-Matthey, and Checkpoint Systems.
West Deptford Township’s strong local business base may be why only five percent of residents endure a commute of 60 minutes or more. That’s 40 percent less than the national average and almost 70 percent less than the state average.
#25 – Eatontown
Located 30 miles south of New York City, Eatontown is part of Monmouth County. A number of state routes and the Garden State Parkway pass through or near Eatontown, which helps reduce rush-hour congestion. Almost three percent of Eatontown residents work at home, and four in 10 who get behind the wheel arrive at work in less than 15 minutes.
Meridian Health System, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command, and Centra State Healthcare Systems are a few of the county’s biggest employers. On average, the residents of Eatontown are better paid than 92 percent of workers who live in similarly sized communities across the U.S.
#26 – Phillipsburg
Phillipsburg’s quaint waterfront district, beautiful rolling hills, and historic architecture appeal to families that crave small town tranquility. Toss in the fact that it’s close to the amazing recreation offered by the Pocono Mountains, and it’s easy to understand why Phillipsburg has a reputation as a great place to live.
More than 40 percent of Phillipsburg residents make it from their driveway to the office in less than 15 minutes, which is 20 percent faster than the average city on our list.
#27 – Trenton
Trenton is New Jersey’s capital and the fifth most populated city in the state. It’s located in the central part of the state, which means you can be to Philadelphia, New York City, or the Atlantic coast in about an hour.
Trenton has an extensive transit system that residents put to good use. In fact, 11 percent of residents use the city’s rail or bus service to get to work. That’s more than twice the national average. Trenton also has an above average percentage of carpoolers. About one in five Trenton workers share a ride to the office, which is double the national average.
#28 – Brigantine
If you’d rather spend more time walking the beach and less time getting to work, you owe it to yourself to learn more about Brigantine. Voted one of the “Top 10 New Jersey Beaches for Families,” the island community of Brigantine is an inviting place to visit and an even better place to call home.
In addition to a gorgeous coastal setting and fast commutes, Brigantine residents also enjoy safe streets. In fact, Brigantine is safer than 75 percent of U.S. cities and its violent crime rate is 88 percent lower than the state average.
#29 – Maple Shade Township
The best way to describe Maple Shade Township is unique. It retains a refreshing hometown vibe, despite being so close to major metropolitan areas. Good salaries, low taxes, and easy access to major highways are a few of the perks of living in Maple Shade Township. A commute that’s faster than the state average is another.
Maple Shade Township also boasts an impressive low crime rate. The chance of being a victim of violent crime in Maple Shade Township is almost 40 percent less than the national average.
#30 – Pennsauken Township
Pennsauken Township’s business-friendly environment and accessibility to several highways has drawn a number of large businesses over the last few years. In fact, according to Camden County’s Department of Economic Development, almost three quarters of the county’s recent business development occurred in Pennsauken Township. That’s good news for residents who want to work locally.
For those who head out of town for employment, Pennsauken Township’s newly opened Transit Center makes the commute less stressful.
#31 – Bridgeton
If you’re looking for a community that values its citizens, you’ve found it. Bridgeton’s leaders, law enforcement, and citizens collaborate to ensure their community remains a great place to call home. One way citizens can get involved with their community is by using the city’s online reporting tool which allows them to report nearly any type of concern, from criminal activity to a pothole.
When you call Bridgeton home, there’s a 22 percent chance you’ll carpool to work, and a 67 percent chance your trip will take less than 29 minutes.
#32 – Morristown
More than 40 percent of adults who live in Morristown have a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree, which is nearly twice the national average. So we weren’t surprised to learn that professional occupations, like those in administration and management, account for 20 percent of all jobs in the northern New Jersey community.
It’s not uncommon for people who live in Morristown to work in New York City, and thanks to New Jersey Transit’s Midtown Direct service, they can get to Penn Station in less than an hour.
Morristown deserves praise for thinking outside the box when it comes to transportation. Recently, the city was awarded a $669,000 Transportation Alternatives Program grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation to further enhance the city’s pedestrian paths.
#33 – Perth Amboy
Perth Amboy is located in Middlesex County. We were pleased to find that 25 percent or Perth Amboy residents carpool to work, which is more than twice the national average, and almost five percent walk.
Need more reasons to consider a move to Perth Amboy? The median house price in Perth Amboy is 20 percent less than the state average, and the city is safer than 42 percent of the cities in the U.S.
#34 – Bound Brook
With just 10,000 residents, Bound Brook offers distinctive small town charm, but it’s also convenient to metropolitan areas. In fact, Bound Brook is on the Raritan Valley passenger railroad line, which offers workers an easy commute to Newark and New York City.
Nearly 20 percent of Bound Brook residents carpool. That’s 30 percent more than the typical city on our list and 50 percent more than the national average.
#35 – Lodi
Lodi is located in Bergen County, just three miles from the much larger city of Passaic and 11 miles from New York City. Lodi’s central location is one reason why 67 percent of workers can get to the office in less than 29 minutes. When they do, a significant number of Lodi residents find themselves working in manufacturing, healthcare, or retail jobs.
In addition to being a commuter friendly city, Lodi is also a safe place to call home. Its overall crime rate is 73 percent lower than the typical American city.
#36 – Paterson
As the seat of Passaic County, local government is Paterson’s largest employer, but jobs in healthcare and manufacturing are also abundant.
Paterson’s location makes it perfect for businesses. It’s crisscrossed by several major transportation routes, less than 20 miles from New York City, and over 30 percent of the Paterson’s landmass is designated as an Urban Enterprise Zone.
We commend the citizens of Paterson for their extensive use of mass transit. At 12 percent, Paterson has the third highest rate of mass transit use of the cities on our list.
#37 – Middlesex
A low crime rate, nominal poverty, and a median household income that’s 63 greater than the national average are a few reasons why family are drawn to Middlesex. The fact that approximately four out of 10 residents enjoy a commute of less than 15 minutes only adds to its appeal.
Major employers in Middlesex County include Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Novo Nordisk, and Wakefern Food Corporation. Over the next seven years, Middlesex County is projected to add 34,650 new jobs. The professional, scientific, and technical services industry is expected to grow the most, followed by the healthcare and social service sectors.
#38 – Woodbury
Situated just eight miles from Camden and 13 miles from Philadelphia, Woodbury offers residents a variety of employment opportunities. And a new light rail connection will soon make commuting to Camden, Philadelphia, and other nearby cities even easier.
If you want to work in Woodbury, you need to know about the city’s unique housing incentive program. “Live Where You Work” provides low-interest mortgage loans as well as down payment and closing cost assistance to people who work in Woodbury and want to buy a house there.
#39 – Clifton
Clifton is located 10 miles outside of New York City, along the Passaic River. With more than 80,000 residents, Clifton is the sixth most populated city in New Jersey, yet four out of 10 workers enjoy a commute that’s less than 15 minutes.
In addition to enjoying a commute that’s faster than the state average, Clifton residents benefit from low crime rates. In fact, Clifton is safer than 65 percent of cities in the U.S.
#40 – Elmwood Park
A first-rate recreation department, low unemployment, and nominal crime make the commuter friendly community of Elmwood Park particularly appealing to families.
Elmwood Park is just two miles from Paterson and a mere 12 miles from Manhattan. Due to its close proximity to larger cities, we weren’t surprised to learn that almost 11 percent of those who call Elmwood Park home work in other cities.
Which are the Worst Commuter Cities in New Jersey?
When it comes to employment, 1.83 million New Jersey residents leave their county to work in another county or even in a neighboring state, and that means more time on the road. Whether it’s to get a better paying job, to enroll their kids in a good school, or another quality of life issue, many New Jersey residents are willing to endure longer commutes.
If you’re a commuter, it’s important to have insurance in case of an emergency. Before making any final decisions on your insurance company, it is important to learn as much as you can about your local insurance providers, and the coverages they offer. Call your local insurance agent to clear up any questions that you might have. Questions to consider asking include, “What is the best coverage plan for me/my family/my situation?” “What are the minimum coverage requirements in my state and what form of coverage do you recommend?” “Do you guys offer any bundle discounts if I take out both my auto insurance and home insurance with you?” and “What is the average rate of insurance quotes you guys offer?”
Before making any big insurance decisions, use our free tool to compare insurance quotes near you. It’s simple, just plug in your zip code and we’ll do the rest!
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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 New Jersey cities whose population exceeded 10,000 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. To get a car insurance quote in New Jersey, call [mapi-phone-link /] today.
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11 Responses to “40 Best and Worst Commuter Cities in New Jersey”
For #1 (Totowa), how do you figure you can be 15 miles from NYC, Paterson AND Trenton? That would be impossible… unless you have broken the time-space continuum…
Totowa is 23-24 miles from NYC (depending on the route you take), 72 miles from Trenton and 2-4 miles away from Paterson (again depending on what route you take).
First sentence: New Jersey is NOT the third most densely populated state. It it the MOST (#1) densely populated state. You took that from the bullet point that included Alaska and Wyoming? Hello editors? Please fix, thanks
High population density does not mean long commute times. That should be obvious from the fact that the town with the longest commute is Vernon Township, one of the least-dense areas in NJ. In fact, the list of 40 towns with the worst commutes includes plenty of low-density areas.
Agreed. I think this goes for a lot of major cities.
Totowa is NOT 15 miles from Trenton.
Totowa is almost 80 miles away from Trenton.
I’ve seen some really impressive homes in Egg Harbor Township at affordable prices, http://www.drhorton.com/New-Jersey/New-Jersey/Egg-Harbor-Township.aspx. This is a great place to commute from!
Egg Harbor Township really is one of the greatest locations. There are some great houses there as well. I work with D.R. Horton a lot and had no idea there were so many great new neighborhoods in this booming area!
Stations that offer Express Trains, such as MetroPark, Woodbridge, Metuchen — all of these offer 35 min commutes to NYC. A Hidden Gem in New Jersey, is Colonia NJ 07067. Colonia has easy access, Direct to New York train ONLY 35 min, transit access, downtown amenities, diversity, community, and a part of history. This hidden gem is part of a community of ten towns within Woodbridge Township. Bonus: Good Schools, Great Place to raise a family. Centers: Community, Youth, etc. Parks and Recreation. close to everything.. … Home Prices range from 300’s up to 1mil plus….
Colonia NJ 07067 has easy access to Direct Train to NYC via MetroPark station [ONLY 35 min to NY-PennStation] NJTransit Bus 48 to Metropark Station in 14 min stopnumbr 24165.
NYTIMES link — The New York Times > New York Region > Image > Travel Times on Commuter Rail