The 15 Best (and Worst!) Commuter Cities in Utah
On average, Utahn’s spend more than 50 minutes commuting each work day, which adds up to a whopping 134 commuting hours each year.
Recognizing that excessive commute times can have direct impact on living expenses, insurance premiums, happiness, and overall health, we want to recognize the Utah cities that make commuting easier on their residents.
To determine the rankings, Obrella analyzed traffic data from the most recent survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau, considering only Utah cities with populations exceeding 7,500 residents at the time of the survey.
How Commute Length Affects Auto Insurance Premiums
Insurance companies typically ask you how long your commute is, but you may be wondering why that’s relevant to your policy. Insurance providers use this information to asses the risks you face to establish your premium. Typically, the more miles you commute, the higher your premium will be.
Having a higher premium for longer commute times makes sense, as the farther you drive each day, the greater your risk of being involved in an accident. If you do something to increase your commute time, like moving to a new home or changing jobs, your insurance company may raise your premium as much as $10 a month. Talk with your Utah car insurance company to understand how changes in a commute time can affect your premium.
How Commute Length Affects Quality of Life
Although you may incur higher insurance costs with a longer commute, the extra cost per month may end up being the least of your worries. Consider these findings.
- Researchers in Sweden found that when one partner in a marriage has a commute longer than 45 minutes, the marriage is 40 percent more likely to end in divorce.
- Robert Putnam asserts that every 10 minutes an individual spends commuting results in 10 percent fewer “social connections” as those who commute are lonelier.
- People with longer commutes are more likely to feel less rested, as well as experience more worry and less enjoyment.
- Research from Thomas James Christian of Brown University shows that every single minute of a commute is associated with a decrease in time spent exercising, preparing food, and sleeping.
- Those with at least a 90-minute daily commute are at a higher risk for persistent neck or back problems and pain.
- Researchers at the University of California – Los Angeles and Cal State – Long Beach found that the number of miles driven every day has a stronger correlation with obesity than any other factor.
With the number of “extreme commuters” almost doubling from 1990, it’s time for American’s to start thinking more about their commutes. Considering all these negative effects of a lengthy commute can help you make an informed decision about how long you’re willing to commute every day. Take a look at these 15 cities in Utah where residents have figured out how to cut down on commute times.
The 15 Best Commuter Cities in Utah
#1 – Price, UT
Nestled on the East side of the Rocky Mountains, Price is surrounded by stunningly wild stretches of the Colorado Plateau. With the nearest urban hub, Provo, being over an hour away and requiring a lengthy drive through the mountains, it’s no surprise that the vast majority of those who live in Price also work there.
With the second highest rate of carpooling and the majority of commuters spending less than 15 minutes on the road, Price is an excellent place to live in Utah if you are not interested in a lengthy commute.
#2 – Cedar City, UT
Those who settle in Cedar City can brag that they enjoy one of the shortest commutes of any community in the U.S. In fact, more than 75 percent of Cedar City residents are in their cars for less than 14 minutes before they arrive at work; that’s 11 minutes less than the typical American.
Cedar City is home to Southern Utah University, which serves as a major employer. This southern Utah community is also gaining traction as a renewable energy hub and jobs in that sector could take off over the next decade. Cedar City only has about 20,000 residents, but it has a lot to offer workers who don’t want to waste their day driving to and from work.
#3 – Logan, UT
Logan is located in northern Utah and offers convenient access to Interstates 15 and 84. Having nearly 50,000 residents, Logan is recognized as one of the more populated cities in the state.
Residents could hop on Interstate 15 and drive an hour to the much larger city of Ogden for work, but thanks to a variety of local employment opportunities they don’t have to. One of the largest employers in Logan is Utah State University, which offers a number of office and administrative positions as well as teaching jobs.
The average commute time in Logan is a mere 15 minutes, and more than three percent of Logan residents don’t even need to start their car, as they work right from home.
#4 – St. George, UT
St. George is located in southwestern Utah and borders Arizona. Known for moderate year-round temperatures and its proximity to a handful of national and state parks, it’s no wonder nearly 80,000 people call St. George home.
As one of the most populated cities in Utah, St. George offers residents a variety of jobs, so long commutes aren’t required. SkyWest Airlines and LHC Health Services Inc. are two of the city’s largest employers, but customer service jobs, as well as jobs in the tourism industry, are also abundant. Boasting an average commute time of just 16 minutes and plentiful recreation, St. George is a great place to work and play.
#5 – Washington, UT
Named after America’s first president, the residents of Washington, Utah are a lucky bunch. In addition to low crime rates, access to an assortment of recreational opportunities, and ample new housing, those who live in Washington also have a choice when it comes to where they punch the clock.
Residents can work in their hometown, or drive 10 minutes south on Veterans Memorial Parkway and settle behind a desk in St. George. Either way, it takes the average working resident of Washington 16 minutes to get to work, and more than half of its citizens enjoy a commute of less than 15 minutes.
#6 – Vernal, UT
Vernal is located in the northeastern part of the Beehive State, providing residents easy access to Wyoming and Colorado. Due to rugged terrain and lack of interstates, it’s no surprise that the overwhelming majority of people who settle in Vernal also work there. And more people are choosing to call Vernal home. From 2000 to 2010, Vernal’s population increased by more than 17 percent, but residents still benefit from a low population density.
Vernal deserves a shout-out for their carpooling efforts. Nearly 19 percent of its workers carpool; that’s more than any other city on our list and almost double the national average. Best yet, they don’t have to drive for long. Roughly 75 percent of workers enjoy a commute of 15 minutes or less.
#7 – Provo, UT
Situated 43 miles south of Salt Lake City, Provo is the third most populated city in the state and it’s going through a growth spurt. Provo has earned an excellent reputation for being a great place to launch a business, start a second career, and raise a family. We weren’t surprise to learn the majority of Provo residents work in their hometown. Brigham Young University, Novell software corporation, and Nu Skin Enterprises are a few of the city’s major employers.
Provo is dissected by Interstate 15, which helps the average commuter get to work in 18 minutes. The fact that a whopping 15 percent of people who work in Provo carpool also helps minimize traffic and the time it takes to get to the office.
#8 – North Logan, UT
North Logan is a suburb of Logan, the county seat. It’s in northeastern Utah, close to Wyoming and not far from Idaho. It takes an hour to get from North Logan to Ogden, the closest big city, so many of North Logan’s residents choose to forgo a long commute and stick close to home when it comes to employment.
A significant percentage of North Logan residents have professional jobs, most notably in the fields of math and computers. And they are an educated bunch, with more than 45 percent of adults having attained their bachelor’s degree, which is more than twice the national average. The typical North Logan worker commutes for about 18 minutes and a full 6 percent are fortunate enough to work from home.
If you’re looking for a community with a small town vibe, a wealth of professional opportunities and a short commute time, North Logan is calling you.
#9 – Orem, UT
Orem is Utah’s fifth most populated city. It’s situated in the north-central part of Utah and has received kudos from Money.com as one of the “Best Places to Live in America.” It also boasts low crime rates and an average commute time of just 18 minutes.
While there are plenty of opportunities for work in this pleasant city, those who are employed in nearby Provo can catch a convenient commuter train. Utah Valley University and Alpine School District are the two largest employers in Orem.
#10 – Park City, UT
Drive 30 miles southeast of downtown Salt Lake City and you’ll arrive at beautiful and popular Park City. Park City is a small community of roughly 8,000, but its population swells during tourist season.
Park City is decidedly creative and well educated community. More than half of the adults in Park City earned their bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD, so it’s no surprise that the overwhelming majority of residents hold white-collar, professional positions and the per capita income is well above the state and national average. However, because tourism is a huge industry, a significant percentage of residents work in the service industry.
Park City has a higher percentage of telecommuters than any other city on our list, and those who do have to get behind the wheel only commute an average of 19 minutes, likely down to a job in Salt Lake City. Coupling small town charm with a short drive to work, Park City is a great place to head if you want to spend less time on the road.
#11 – Woods Cross, UT
Located in north-central Utah, Woods Cross is a quiet town with good schools, low crime, and an average commute time of 19 minutes. It’s no wonder the population of Woods Cross increased by more than 50 percent from 2000 to 2010.
Many residents of Woods Cross choose to work there, but it’s not uncommon for locals to commute to Salt Lake City for employment. To reach Salt Lake City, commuters have the choice of hopping on Interstate 15, or climbing aboard the Front Runner commuter train, which can get them to downtown in roughly 15 minutes.
If spending more time at home and less time driving to and from work sounds inviting, Woods Cross is a fantastic place to do it.
#11 – Smithfield, UT
Smithfield is located in northern Utah, near the borders of Idaho and Wyoming. The small town of approximately 10,000 residents is a fabulous place to put down roots, especially if physical activity is important to you. Smithfield offers an impressive recreation center, a number of fitness programs, and a well-developed trail system.
When you call Smithfield home, you can say so long to lengthy commutes and start saving money on gas. On average, residents of Smithfield commute for just 19 minutes and nearly half of commuters are on the road for less than 15 minutes. An admirable 15 percent of Smithfield citizens carpool to the office, and Interstate 15 makes the commute to nearby Logan virtually stress free.
#13 – Lindon, UT
If you’d prefer to spend more time relaxing and less time fighting traffic, you’ll want to get to know Lindon, Utah. Lindon has the second highest percentage of telecommuters on our list, and those who travel to work only spend an average of 20 minutes on the road. Management positions and jobs in the computer industry are some of the most prevalent occupations in Lindon.
Interstate 15 runs right through Lindon, making it a cinch for workers to commute to the nearby larger cities of Orem and Provo. Workers who want to be productive while travelling to the office can ride the Front Runner commuter train from Lindon to downtown Provo.
Honored by Time.com as one of the “Best Places to Live in America,” this progressive community offers abundant recreation, a wealth of historical sites and a burgeoning commercial corridor. Come see why families are flocking to Lindon.
#14 – Washington Terrace, UT
Washington Terrace covers roughly two square miles and has a mere 10,000 residents, but don’t let its petite size fool you. Washington Terrace offers a number of benefits, not the least of which is an average commute time of 20 minutes. Manufacturing, construction, and retail are the top industries in Washington Terrace.
Washington Terrace is also perfectly positioned between two of the state’s population hubs, Ogden and Salt Lake City, so residents enjoy the best of small town life yet have access to every modern amenity, cultural pursuits, and shopping.
#15 – Riverdale, UT
Located at the intersection of Interstates 84 and 15, Riverdale residents can work locally, or easily commute to nearby Ogden. By car, it’s about 10 miles from Riverdale to the center of Ogden; by Front Runner commuter train, it’s an approximately 20 minute trip.
We were impressed to discover that Riverdale takes transportation seriously. In fact, the city recently joined the Utah Transportation Coalition, which advocates long term funding for transportation solutions that can help improve the quality of life for its residents and boost the economy.
If you’re searching for a community that’s planning for a bright future, you may have found your home sweet home.
Which are the Worst Commuter Cities in Utah?
Although workers living in the 10 Worst Commuter Cities in Utah face commutes that are significantly longer than workers living in the 15 Best Commuter Cities, as a whole Utah is recognized as a commuter friendly state.
In fact, the average travel time to work in Utah is 21.2 minutes, which represents the 12th best commute time of any state in the U.S.
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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 Utah cities whose population exceeded 7,500 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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