'Super commute' just getting longer, up 16 percent since 2005, study shows

It’s not just here in the Bay Area. People across the country are commuting longer to get to work according to a new study by Apartment List released on Wednesday.

Researchers analyzed Census data and found the number of "super commuters" —those who commute more than 90 minutes to work— has increased by nearly 16 percent since 2005. In the United States, nearly 4 million workers are super commuters. Eight of the 10 cities with the most super commuters are in regions surrounding San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.  The metro areas near these cities contain zip codes where the median home price is $1 million or more.  In the outskirts of the Bay Area there has been a large increase in the number of super commuters from Vallejo, Stockton, and Modesto.

According to the study, super commutes are more common surrounding so-called “superstar cities,” where knowledge and technology jobs are based.  

Additionally, the study found that super commuters are more likely to rely on public transportation.

Kristin Culver takes Caltrain for the 82-mile trip from her home in Gilroy to her job in San Francisco.

She said relatively easy train service to her job factored into her decision

“We weren't interested of playing the real estate game in the Bay Area of multiple offers,” she said. “Buying a house you can barely afford something that's a tear down that you wouldn't ever really want to live in but it's your only option.”

Study authors urge city planners to take this growing trend of super commuters into account when making public policy.  Reversing the trend of super commuting, they say, will require increasing housing supply and improving transportation.