This City in California City Has Been Named to Have the Worst Commute in the State


Commuting to work may be a stressful and time-consuming experience for many employees, particularly in big and crowded cities. While some individuals love listening to podcasts, reading novels, or catching up on emails while in transportation, others find it tiresome, irritating, and unproductive. Commuting may also have a detrimental influence on health, well-being, and the environment since it causes stress reduces physical activity, and contributes to air pollution.

But which California city has the state’s worst commute? According to a recent survey conducted by SmartAsset, a financial technology business, the answer is Stockton, a city located 90 minutes east of San Francisco. In this post, we’ll look at why Stockton has the worst commute in the state and what measures are being recommended to address the problem.

Why Does Stockton Have the Worst Commute in the State

Stockton is the county seat of San Joaquin County and has a population of around 312,000, making it California’s 13th biggest city. It is also a part of the San Joaquin Valley, an area recognized for its agricultural output but also for its poor air quality, high poverty rate, and low educational achievement.

According to the SmartAsset analysis, which analyzed data from the United States Census Bureau, workers in Stockton have an average travel time of 33 minutes, up 6.21% from 2016 to 2021. Furthermore, 17.3% of workers spend more than an hour driving to work, the second-highest rate in the US, trailing only Riverside, California. The survey also discovered that Stockton had the largest percentage of workers who drive alone to work, at 82.9%, and the lowest number of workers who take public transit, at 1.4%.

Stockton’s lengthy and congested commutes are caused by a variety of reasons, including

1.) A lack of suitable public transportation alternatives, such as buses, trains, or light rail, to connect Stockton to other major regional cities, such as Sacramento, Modesto, or the Bay Area. Existing public transportation services are either unreliable, infrequent, or costly, and they do not satisfy the needs of the rising population.

2.) The high cost of living and housing in the Bay Area drives many people to relocate to less expensive places, such as Stockton, and commute great distances to work. According to Zillow, the typical property value in Stockton is $378,000, but in San Francisco, it is $1.4 million.

3.) Stockton’s geographical setting, which is surrounded by mountains, rivers, and farmland, with restricted access to highways and freeways. The primary roadways connecting Stockton to other cities are Interstate 5, State Route 99, and State Route 4, which are frequently crowded, particularly during peak hours.

4.) The COVID-19 epidemic interrupted typical work and travel habits, increasing demand for delivery services, e-commerce, and online purchasing. This resulted in more trucks and automobiles on the highways, increasing traffic and pollution.

What Are the Offered Measures to Improve the Situation?

Stockton’s commute issue is not new, and it has been identified as a difficulty that must be handled by municipal and state officials, as well as corporate and public groups. Several measures have been proposed or executed to improve the problem, including:

1.) Expanding and enhancing the public transportation infrastructure, such as introducing more bus lines, boosting the frequency and dependability of current services, and establishing new projects, such as the Valley Link, a proposed rail service connecting Stockton to the Bay Area.

2.) Promoting and facilitating alternate means of transportation, such as carpooling, bicycling, walking, or telecommuting, through incentives, subsidies, infrastructure, and education. For example, the San Joaquin Council of Governments, a regional planning body, runs programs like Commute Connection, which helps commuters find carpool or vanpool partners, and Bike to Work, which promotes cycling as a healthy and sustainable mode of transportation.

3.) Investing in smart and creative technology, such as traffic management systems, self-driving cars, electric vehicles, and hyperloops, to decrease congestion, improve safety, and cut emissions. For example, Stockton is one of the communities that has collaborated with Waymo, a self-driving technology company, to test and deploy autonomous vehicles in the region.

4.) Promoting economic growth and job creation in Stockton and the San Joaquin Valley by recruiting new enterprises, industries, and investments, as well as improving worker skills and education. This would lessen the need for workers to commute great distances while improving the quality of life and possibilities for inhabitants.


In the end, Stockton, California, has the worst commute in the state, owing to reasons such as insufficient public transit, housing inequities, geographic limits, and the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic. With an average commute duration of 33 minutes and a large number of single drivers, the city has difficulties that affect both inhabitants’ well-being and the environment. To ease congestion in Stockton and improve general living conditions, proposed options include increasing public transit, encouraging alternate commute methods, embracing technology, and boosting local economic growth.

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