British workers will spend 1 year 35 days commuting 191,760 miles in their lifetime

September 2, 2015
  • 45 per cent of British commuters would move house to be nearer to work
  • The average journey to work is 17 miles a day, totaling 51 minutes and costing £82 a month
  • Nearly half (47 per cent) are not willing to work anywhere that’s over 48 minutes from home
  • 13 per cent hate commuting, and one in ten (ten per cent) would rather work from home

It may not be the statistic you want to hear while stuck in traffic on the way to work, or struggling to keep cool in a forest of arms on the tube but new research from Get Living London has discovered that the average British commuter** will spend the equivalent of 1 year and 35 days of their working lives*** getting to and from the office – at a cost of around £42,000.

With journeys to and from work averaging 17 miles* a day and taking a total of 51 minutes, it’s not surprising that nearly half (45 per cent) of British workers report a short commute is their number one consideration when deciding where to live. Given the option, 45 per cent would actually move house to be near their place of work, and just over one in ten (13 per cent) have already done this.

Neil Young, CEO of Get Living London which owns and manages the private rented homes at East Village, the former London 2012 Athletes’ Village said: ‘No one likes their commute to work, for the vast majority it is simply a means to an end. Yet, with commuting time to work and good transport links the top considerations for renters when choosing a place to live we are proud that East Village is one of London’s best connected neighbourhoods. Eight different tube and rail lines operate approximately 200 trains every hour from Stratford, meaning our residents can be in Canary Wharf in just eight minutes and the City in under 15. It’s only seven minutes to King’s Cross St Pancras and the Jubilee and Central Lines whisk you to the West End. It’s a commuting dream!’

The commute has a big influence on home life, with nearly half (47 per cent) of British commuters not willing to work anywhere that is too far from their house; 48 minutes being too far. In addition 21 per cent have turned down a job offer because the commute was just too long. In the battle of the sexes, women are more adamant about this, with 52 per cent refusing to work somewhere that is too far from home, versus 42 per cent of men.

The longest commutes are found in the south of England with Brighton & Hove residents logging commute times of 74 minutes to and from work. Those in Chelmsford, Essex commute for just over an hour at 66 minutes and Londoners endure an average daily commute of 64 minutes. If it’s a shorter commute you’re after, the research of 2,000 UK commuters finds that Worcester, Plymouth and Sheffield are ideal towns, with total travel times of just 23, 37 and 39 minutes respectively.

Whilst nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of British workers treat their commute as simply a ‘means to an end’, 13 per cent claim to hate it. One in ten (ten per cent) would rather work from home, and six per cent find it depressing and stressful.

Top ten commuter hates

This might stem from the fact that nearly half of British commuters are irked by long traffic jams (52 per cent) and constant delays on transport networks (26 per cent). 21 per cent resent the monotony of the same journey day in day out, and 22 per cent get annoyed by the cost at an average of £82 a month – with Londoners paying the highest at £116. Busy carriages, having to stand up and other commuters’ bad personal hygiene also rate highly (14 per cent and 12 per cent).

  • Traffic Jams – 52 per cent
  • Delays to the transport network – 26 per cent
  • The cost of it – 22 per cent
  • The monotony of the same journey day in, day out – 21 per cent
  • The busyness – 14 per cent
  • Having to stand due to no seats – 12 per cent
  • People talking loudly on the phone – 12 per cent
  • Fellow travellers bad personal hygiene – 12 per cent
  • Being packed in like sardines – 11 per cent
  • Queuing – 10 per cent

Top ten commuter activities

The journey to work is, for many, a solitary pursuit. The research by Get Living London found that 85 per cent of us commute alone, with 11 percent admitting they enjoy the time to themselves. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) like to people watch, whilst 16 per cent are nose down in a book. 15 per cent use the time to “have a think” and 12 per cent keep informed by reading a newspaper.

  • People watching – 23 per cent
  • Reading books – 16 per cent
  • Using the time to think – 15 per cent
  • Reading the newspaper – 12 per cent
  • Play games on the phone – 9 per cent
  • Update social media status – 8.5 per cent
  • Catching up on emails – 8 per cent
  • Sleep – 7 per cent
  • Eat breakfast – 6 per cent
  • Catch up on calls to friends and family – 5 per cent

Top ten methods of commuting

Cars are, by far, the most popular way to commute, with 63 per cent of workers choosing to drive to work. Nearly a quarter of British commuters prefer to walk with 25 per cent opting for a swift stroll, followed by 18 per cent who catch a bus, and 14 per cent who ride the train. Cycling and running are less popular choices with only seven and two per cent choosing these methods respectively. In London the research finds that 32 per cent take the tube, 36 per cent walk and 18 per cent run whilst only eight per cent cycle.

  • Car – 63 per cent
  • Walk – 25 per cent
  • Bus – 18 per cent
  • Train – 14 per cent
  • Underground – 9 per cent
  • Cycling – 7 per cent
  • Taxi – 4 per cent
  • Running – 2 per cent
  • Motorbike – 1 per cent
  • Boat – 1 per cent

For a number of British commuters it is not an easy journey to the office, with over 36 per cent having to change their method of transport at least once, and one in ten changing more than twice.


*The survey was carried out by One Poll, on behalf of Get Living London, and ran from the 27th – 29th July 2015.  The number of respondents: 2,000 adults.

**Research carried out by One Poll, on behalf of Get Living London in July 2015 found that 60 per cent of British workers commuted to work on a daily basis.

***A working life is calculated as 47 years from 18-65 years old.

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