Why Do “Best Places to Work” Rankings Overlook Commuting?

You’ve probably seen one of those rankings for your city that tells people where the “best places to work” are locally.

A terrible commute can certainly impact worker well being, so why is it being ignored in "best places to work" rankings? Photo: Wikipedia

A terrible commute can certainly affect your well being, so why not factor it into “best places to work” rankings? Photo: Wikipedia

They tend to examine criteria like salaries, benefits, corporate culture. But as Jeff La Noue at Baltimore-based blog Comeback City points out, they usually ignore one very important factor: the commute. And that’s a pretty serious omission, La Noue says:

Virtually every rush hour, one or more of our major regional highways is backed up when some unfortunate driver’s car is mangled in a so-called car-b-que. The DC area usually ranks among the highest in the nation for traffic congestion, while Baltimore isn’t far behind.

Beyond causing stress and eating up time, commuting by car can be dangerous. In 2010, Maryland had 493 traffic deaths. 296 were in passenger cars or light trucks vs one fatality in a bus. 383 fatal car crashes were on urban interstates.

Meanwhile, employers on the Baltimore Magazine list highlight commuting options with about the same frequency as company picnics and employer-paid pet insurance. Of the top 25, there are only eight employers with a walkscore rating over 70. A high walkscore can indicate whether an employee can walk to a place to eat, to live, or a central bus or transit line from their workplace.

La Noue goes on to list the best places to work in Baltimore by Walk Score ranking.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Political Environment challenges the almost unquestioned notion that suburbanites have a right to speedy commutes through the city of Milwaukee. Vibrant Bay Area considers how to make gas stations fit comfortably into the urban environment. And Reno Rambler comments on the ideological divide between cyclists who advocate for better infrastructure and cyclists who advocate for behaving like drivers.