The good: Facebook, Google, Apple and other booming companies have provided Silicon Valley with a wealth of jobs.
The horrible: The region’s “megacommute” — defined a trip that’s 90 minutes or longer one way to work — is so bad, the drive-times are even worse than LA.
The worse: Commute times are just getting longer because Silicon Valley workers have been moving out of the pricey region for more affordable housing and then slogging it long distances to work.
"Silicon Valley has been worse in terms of traffic than LA for the last three years because Los Angeles isn't growing that fast," Jon Haveman, chief economist at Marin Economic Consulting, told NBC Bay Area on Thursday. "Home prices are rising really rapidly and in order to work here, you have to afford the houses."
His study was released this week in conjunction with the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies.
Haveman found that last year, of all those employed in Silicon Valley, 5.3 percent fell into the megacommuting category, of 90 minutes or more. To compare, of all those working in Los Angeles County, just 4.6 percent of drivers were megacommuters.
His analysis also showed that the typical Silicon Valley worker who lives outside of the region spends a total of 113 minutes per day, or 57 hours per month, in their cars.
“They may spend their commutes listening to podcasts or radio or making phone calls,” Haveman said, “but we can safely say this is unwanted time that could be spent working, being with families or in other, more useful ways.”
The mega-solution: Haveman and others want there to be more affordable housing and more robust public transit systems built.
If not, Haveman warned: “With continued job growth and this many people driving alone, traffic is only going to get worse.”