Iowa drivers enjoy one of nation's shortest commutes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa drivers enjoy one of nation's shortest commutes

Traffic flows on US Highway 20 in Dubuque Monday afternoon Traffic flows on US Highway 20 in Dubuque Monday afternoon

U.S. Census Bureau data put Iowa tied for seventh in the nation when it comes to a short commute, with an average trip to work lasting just 19.1 minutes. The state is tied with Kansas.

Dan Loy works at IBM in Dubuque and recently moved to the city from Spring Green, Wis.

"My current commute is about seven minutes. It used to be about an hour and 15, an hour and 20 minutes," Loy said. "A lot of money saved on gas and I get to leave a lot later and get to work."

He joins an entire state of people who enjoy an average commute that's six minutes shorter than the national average of 25 minutes.

It's a fact local economic development agencies use to attract people to the state.

Dan McDonald is the vice president of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation.

"It's really with the quality of life and the productivity of an employee," he said. "In Chicago, the average worker spends 10 hours a week in their car, and that's 40 hours a month. Who's happier: an employee in Iowa or Dubuque or someone in Chicago?"

That ties in to attracting businesses to Iowa, since companies know a happy workforce often means a more efficient one.

"They're certainly aware of the differences in what a commute time does to the productivity and morale and the well-being of an employee," McDonald said.

Dave Heiar is Dubuque's director of economic development. He said 9,000 people currently work in downtown Dubuque, and with the completion of Dubuque's Historic Millwork District, hundreds of available apartments will make the average commute shorter and decrease traffic.

"We do have a lot of manufacturing and fleets who do not like congested roads, even in Dubuque, Iowa, so it's a great one-two punch," McDonald said. "You have fewer vehicles on the road, you have people with a lower commute time or they're walking and it also eases congestion."

The Iowa Department of Transportation said Iowans travel an average of 11.5 miles to work.

The US Census numbers show folks in Madison County have the longest average commute: 29 minutes. Many of them, however, work in the Des Moines area.

Iowa's shortest commute is 12.3 minutes in Sioux City.

The state with the shortest average commute is North Dakota.

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