Travel

Calling Bullsh*t on Report That Denver Commutes Are Getting Shorter

Calling Bullsh*t on Report That Denver Commutes Are Getting Shorter
peeterv/Getty Images
Mention traffic in Denver to any random group of locals and you're likely to trigger a rant. Plenty of folks who otherwise love living in the Mile High City are livid about having to spend more time behind the wheel because of increasing volume, construction projects that never seem to end, and drivers more interested in staring at their phones than peering through their windshields.

So when the real estate blog COMMERCIALCafe recently released a study naming Denver as one of four major cities in the country in which commute times have decreased over the past decade, we were dumbfounded — and so were many of you.

We conducted separate Twitter and Facebook polls in which we referenced the new report and asked readers about their commutes. More than 700 people took part, and the results from the quizzes, while thoroughly unscientific, were incredibly consistent. In both cases, 77 percent said their regular job treks had grown longer, while 23 percent answered shorter.

Nonetheless, Robert Demeter, who wrote the COMMERCIALCafe post on the subject and was deeply involved in the investigation, stands by the data. And while many of the supplementary comments we received from folks on social media heaped scorn on the findings ("Fire whoever is doing the study," one person suggested), others shared information about their personal commuting experiences that reveal that it's actually possible to avoid daily jams — though it's not always easy.


"I eventually got fed up with commuting, and now only work jobs that I can get to in twenty minutes or less," notes Todd Bradley, one of our poll takers. "Life is too short to spend it in traffic."

The period analyzed by COMMERCIALCafe didn't end ten minutes ago; its figures juxtapose 2008 with 2017. But this span still incorporates the years during which Denver transitioned into one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.

The study shows commute times here shrinking slightly on a daily basis, with the overall savings in time calculated at about 1.7 hours per annum. Only three other major cities — Detroit, Memphis and Las Vegas — had greater (or, in fact, any) decreases, as depicted in the following graphic:
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts