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Arbitron: Long Commutes Don’t Necessarily Translate to Large TSL

Radio rides shotgun on America’s daily slog

Graphic courtesy of Arbitron

It’s ironic that on a day the federal government in Washington is closed because of a snow storm, Arbitron has released the results of a survey that studies whether and how long commute times translate to more in-car listening.

The Washington Metro is second only to New York City in terms of weekday commuting, according to Arbitron’s analysis of commuting data from the 2007­­–2011 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, using Fall 2012 Arbitron Metro definitions.

Commuters in Sussex, N.J., suffer the most compared to their workday compatriots in the rest of the Arbitron radio Metros. Sussex commuters spend an average of slightly more than 37 minutes getting to work; Fredericksburg, Va., is number two, also at slightly more than 37 minutes. That translates to 5 hours of weekday listening in morning drive for Sussex commuters and 4:45 for Fredericksburg commuters, according to the audience research firm.

While the New York and Washington Metros are among the top five metros for commute time, at 34.7 minutes and 33.6 minutes respectively, their morning drive time spent listening is not on par with the other three leading commute time markets.

One possible reason — these two markets are also the leading markets for public transportation. In New York, 31.6% take public transportation to work; in Washington, DC — 14.7%. Without a dashboard radio to accompany their commute, many bus and subway commuters aren’t available to contribute to the morning drive time spent listening, notes Arbitron.

To see a list of all 275 markets, go here.

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