Dividing maps up based on established geographic boundaries is a great way to create sales territories and analyze demographic information. US zip codes are a popular boundary to use, but what if you want something larger than the standard five-digit code?
Three-digit zip codes divide your map into bigger territories. Use these boundaries to analyze larger areas at a time and take a higher-level look at your map.
Types of Zip Codes
There are actually four different types of zip codes used by the United States Postal Service to make sure our mail is delivered to the right location:
Unique Zip Codes: Some addresses that receive a large amount of mail are given their own unique zip code.
P.O. Box Zip Codes: P.O. boxes are also given their own zip codes.
Military Zip Codes: These are used for any mail or deliveries being sent to the U.S. military.
Standard Zip Codes: Any address that doesn’t fall into one of the above categories is given a standard zip code. This is what most homes and businesses use.
What Are 3 Digit Zip Codes?
A three-digit zip code is simply the first three numbers in a zip code. Each zip code is divided up into three parts:
National Area: The United States is divided up into ten groups of states called national areas. The first digit of a zip code indicates which one of those groups an address is located in.
Regional Area:The ten national areas are divided up into smaller geographic regions (usually ten per state), determined by the next two digits. Each of these areas has a sectional center facility that sorts and distributes mail.
Delivery Area:Every regional area is divided up further into several delivery areas, indicated by the last two digits of a zip code. This is the area that the mail is actually being delivered to.
So, a three-digit zip code represents a regional area and is made up of several smaller five-digit zip codes.
Why Use 3 Digit Zip Codes Instead of 5 Digit Zip Codes?
Standard zip codes are a useful geographic boundary, but they are rather small compared to other boundaries. If you’re looking to divide cities into multiple areas you’ll find that three-digit zip codes are usually the ideal size.
Use three-digit zip codes to:
Establish Sales Territories: Combine zip codes into several larger areas to use as sales territories for your team.
Create Distribution Areas:Do you work in transportation or logistics? Use three-digit zip codes to establish distribution centers throughout a city.
Analyze the Demographics of a Larger Geographic Area:Simplify your demographic research by increasing the size of the areas you’re analyzing. Instead of reviewing data for 30 – 40 zip codes, you’ll now only be analyzing the data for 6 – 8 codes.
How to Map Zip Codes with Maptive
Use Maptive’s boundary tool to easily map five-digit zip codes on your interactive map:
Click the tools icon in the top lefthand corner of the screen.
Select the “Boundary / Geographic Territory Tool.
Under “Select Boundary Type” choose “US – Zip Codes.”
Click “Add Boundary.”
While Maptive doesn’t have the ability to automatically map three-digit zip codes, use the Territory Drawing Tool to draw them in manually:
Follow the instructions above to map the five-digit zip codes first.
Click the tools icon in the top left hand corner of the screen.
Select the “Territory Drawing Tool.”
Under “Select Task” choose “Create New Territory Group.”
Give your territory group a name.
Click “Add Territory Group.”
Select the data that you would like to appear in your territory popup, then click “Done.”
Click “Draw Territory.”
Choose a name and colors for your territory, then click “Start Drawing.”
Move your cursor to where you want to create your territory. Click on the map to create the points of your polygon, then click on the first point to complete it. Use the five-digit zip codes, and the three-digit zip code maps found here, as a guide when creating your territories.
Ready to Start Mapping Zip Codes?
Want to start mapping five and three-digit zip codes for sales territories, distribution areas, and more? Sign up for a Maptive free trial account and create your interactive map today.
Most businesses have several different sales areas or territories they use to target customers more effectively. Dividing your customer base into territories leads to an even distribution of sales amongst your team and more personalized service for customers.
If you’re thinking about establishing sales areas, or you have territories but don’t have the means to map them, mapping software provides a number of benefits.
Sure, you likely have several spreadsheets full of data on each area, but numbers in columns don’t usually tell the whole story. By plotting your sales territory boundaries and data on an interactive map you’ll be able to visualize the information and make a variety of new discoveries.
Area mapping in sales is a growing trend. Don’t fall behind your competitors. Take advantage of this strategy and get the most out of your customer data.
Why Should You Map Your Sales Areas?
Creating and mapping your sales territories offers a number of advantages over spreadsheets and CRMs.
Here are six reasons to plot your sales area data on an interactive map:
1. Discover How Many Customers and Leads are in a Territory
Your sales areas might have made sense when you first created them, but your customer base is constantly growing. Things change and after plotting your business data you might realize your territories are now unbalanced.
When you look at the numbers ask yourself the following questions:
How many customers can one sales representative effectively handle?
Do you need to add additional sales reps to certain territories?
Should some sales areas with larger customer bases be divided into several smaller territories?
Seeing the data in this way helps you better understand your customer distribution. Answer the questions above and then adjust your sales areas accordingly to generate the best results.
2. Monitor Performance
Mapping your data makes it easy to see which territories are succeeding and which ones are missing their sales targets. Area mapping software gives you several options for monitoring sales, providing you with all the information you need in one easy-to-understand view.
This isn’t just for comparing one territory to another. Using tools like heat maps gives you insights into which areas within each territory are generating the most sales and which ones aren’t. Find the areas that are lacking in sales to improve the results of each territory and your business as a whole.
3. Identify Overlapping Coverage
After mapping all your customers and new leads you might discover some accounts that extend into multiple sales areas and are being handled by more than one salesperson. This leads to:
Dissent and arguments between sales reps
Inconsistent customer service
The same tasks being performed by multiple salespeople
Uncovering overlapping coverage is key to staying efficient. Look for any accounts that are spanning multiple sales territories and reps and reorganize your team accordingly to improve both your productivity and the experience for your customers.
4. Distribute Leads Evenly Amongst Your Team
When a small number of reps are getting all the sales, it’s not good for morale. It leads to members or your team feeling like they aren’t being given the opportunity to succeed. Everyone wants to perform to the best of their abilities, and if your staff feel like they can’t do that with you they’ll go somewhere else.
Establishing sales areas with evenly distributed populations and customers ensure leads and sales are distributed evenly. It provides a fair work environment where everyone has the ability to reach their full potential.
Territories can also be created and assigned based on experience. Assign senior staff larger territories and junior staff smaller territories to make sure everyone has the right amount of accounts for their skill level.
No matter how hard you try to keep things fair, there are always some staff members who feel like certain employees are being given preferential treatment.
Creating an interactive map with your sales area boundaries and customers means everyone can see the data for themselves. Easily share your sales area maps with your entire team to stay transparent about the leads and customers everyone is being assigned.
6. Spot New Sales Opportunities
There are simply some trends and opportunities that aren’t apparent when looking at an Excel spreadsheet or data in a CRM.
Here are some of the insights you’ll uncover by mapping your sales data:
Where your sales are coming from
Who is purchasing your products and services
Which sales reps/territories are exceeding expectations
Which sales reps/territories are lagging behind
Why some territories regions perform better than others
Use this data to adjust your marketing efforts, reassign reps, and make adjustments to continue to grow your business.
Four Different Ways to Map Sales Territories
If you’re looking to establish sales territories for the first time, or you want to adjust your current territories, you’re likely wondering what’s the best way to do that. Here are four strategies to create effective sales areas
1. Target Market Demographics
Have you defined your target market and customer? Do you know where they’re located? Then it makes sense to create territories based on that. If you anticipate a specific group of people is most likely to buy from you then it’s only fair to ensure that group is evenly distributed amongst all your sales areas.
Most territory mapping software (like Maptive) includes demographic data. View this information to find out where your target audience is and set your boundaries accordingly.
2. Current Customers
If your business has a number of established accounts that generate the majority of your sales then a better strategy might be to create sales territories around them. Plot the locations of all your current customers, then draw boundaries that ensure there’s a relatively equal number within each sales area.
You may also want to account for the sales reps who are currently managing those accounts. If reps have a longstanding history with certain clients they should likely stay assigned to them to continue that relationship if possible.
Is your target market less defined? Are you simply trying to get in front of as many people as possible? Then use population data to define your sales territory boundaries.
Maptive offers population data built directly into the platform. Bring up the numbers and create sales areas that have equal population numbers. Just remember that less populated rural areas might require larger geographic territories in order to reach the desired population levels. Use drive time radii and polygons to make sure reps can still reach all the customers inside their sales area.
4. City or Zip Code
The easiest way to create sales territories is to use existing boundaries such as zip codes, cities, counties, and states. Use Maptive’s boundary tool to decide what type of boundary you’d like to use and then instantly implement it within your map.
Just make sure to do some research to determine whether creating sales territories in this way will result in a fair distribution of leads and customers for your team members.
Maptive Makes Sales Territory Mapping Easy
Upload your sales area data and create beautiful sales territory maps in moments with Maptive.
With our software you will:
Plot the locations of your customers and leads.
Create sales territories based on established boundaries or your unique needs.
Use heat maps to identify where sales are coming from and where they’re lacking.
Utilize drivetime radii and polygons to assign reps to customers.
Optimize routes to reduce driving time and visit more customers in a day.
The most successful companies know they can’t appeal to everyone. We’re all different, with our unique likes and dislikes, so when businesses try to make all of us happy they end up making none of us happy.
That’s why companies work so hard to find their specific target market and customer. If they can identify a subset of the population that absolutely loves their products they can market directly to them and generate enough sales to continue to grow their business.
Keep reading to learn how to identify your target customer and what you need to do to market to them effectively.
What is a Target Market?
Before you find your target customer you need to define your target market. This is the market segment that you feel has the highest potential to buy from you.
For example, a gym might determine its target market is people aged 18 – 34 making $40,000 – $85,000 per year. While this group is extremely broad, it’s a good starting point. Once your target market has been defined it’s time to dig deeper and get more specific.
What is a Target Customer?
Your target customer is the person you know will be most interested in your products and services. To find this person you must take your target market and narrow it down until you’ve found your ideal buyer persona.
Let’s use the gym as an example again. After expanding on the target market they established in the last section they might determine that their target customer is someone aged 23 who makes $53,000 a year and enjoys an active lifestyle.
With your target customer identified you’re ready to start using this information to your advantage and marketing your business more effectively.
Why is it Important to Find Your Target Customer?
In the past, brands would market to as many people as they could. There wasn’t as much data as there is today so it was more difficult to determine who exactly was buying from them. So they promoted their business everywhere hoping to get in front of as many potential customers as possible.
Some large brands with bigger budgets can still get away with this, but it’s not the best strategy. Most businesses agree that finding your target consumer and marketing directly to them is the right way.
It’s More Efficient
Sales and marketing campaigns can help you grow your business, but they’re also expensive. Sure, they might help you bring in more revenue, but if they cost almost as much money as they bring in are you really getting ahead?
Finding your target customer means you don’t have to waste valuable marketing dollars on people who aren’t interested in your products. By focusing your attention solely on those who are passionate about your products you will:
Boost your conversion rate
Make more sales while spending less money
Increase your return on investment
This makes it possible to reduce your sales and marketing spend while maintaining or even surpassing your previous sales figures.
Discover New Customer Bases
It’s quite likely that when you started your business you had an idea about who your specific audience would be. Most companies do. The interesting thing is, quite often they’re wrong. It’s possible that all this time you’ve been focusing on the wrong group.
Going through the process of finding your target customer forces you to look at the data and actually see who’s buying your products and services. The results may surprise you and you might have an entire customer base you weren’t aware of. This is a massive opportunity.
These people are already buying from you without any marketing directed towards them. By actually targeting them with your marketing efforts, you can grow your sales amongst that audience even more.
Know Your Customers Better
By narrowing your audience and keying in on a specific group of people you’re able to better understand their wants, needs, and desires. You become an expert on your niche market and the customers that are interested in it.
This has two benefits:
Create more effective advertising that speaks directly to your target audience.
Develop new products and services that address the unique needs of your consumers.
Knowledge is power and by knowing your target customer you’re able to create a business that serves them better.
Make Your Marketing More Effective
Building on our last point, when you know who your target customer is your brand message becomes more clear. Advertising is no longer a guessing game. You can create ads and pitches that resonate with people who have proven to be interested in your business.
But this goes beyond messaging. The rise of digital marketing, social media, data collection, and mapping software means you’re able to decide exactly who receives your advertising and sales calls.
Define your ideal customer then ensure they’re the only ones who receive your marketing and promotions. The right messaging combined with the right targeting leads to better results.
Create Brand Loyalty
A large reason people choose brands is that they relate to them. Something about a brand makes them feel like it was created just for them. This doesn’t just result in sales, but also loyalty.
The advantage of identifying your target consumer is you can build a brand that they can relate to. Sure it won’t speak to everyone, but the people that do buy from you will be extremely passionate about your business and they’ll be far more likely to stick with you long-term.
Remember, a small group of loyal customers is far more valuable than a large group of customers who will jump ship as soon as something newer comes along.
How to Find Your Target Customer
We’ve established why you should find your target customer, but how do you actually go about doing that? There are three main areas you need to look at:
Your Customer Base
The best place to start is your customer base. That is, the people who are actually buying your products and services.
Review the data on all your previous customers to determine which types of people are drawn to your business and brand.
Do your customers share any similar characteristics? (age, gender, income level, interests, etc.)
Are there any patterns or trends?
Which specific group of consumers represents the largest portion of your sales?
For example, after plotting the locations of all your sales on a map you might find that most of them occur in urban areas. Why is that and what does that tell you about your market?
Answer these questions and you’ll be well on your way to uncovering your target consumer.
If you’re thinking about your target customer chances are your competitors are thinking about it as well. It’s quite possible they’ve figured it out and are already targeting those people.
Do your research and determine who their marketing is geared towards and who is buying from them. This has two main benefits:
It gives you an idea about who your target consumer should be.
It lets you see which potential markets they’re missing.
While your competitors can help guide you towards the right target audience you don’t want to copy them completely. Then you’re fighting over the same customers. Instead, see if there’s a niche within the market they’re overlooking that you could target.
Your Products and Services
Take a long look at each of your products and services and ask yourself the following questions:
What are their features?
What benefits do those features provide?
What types of people are in need of those benefits?
It’s possible that your target customer hasn’t found your brand yet. By examining your offerings more closely you may discover a new audience that could help you grow your business.
How to Target the Right Customers
Sophisticated software like Maptive makes sure you’re targeting the right customer for your business. Upload your data to visualize your entire customer base and build more effective sales and marketing strategies.
Filter Your Data
Filter your previous customers and leads based on the profile of your target customer. Remove those who don’t fit your criteria and focus solely on the prospects you know are most interested in your products and services. Target them with ads and sales calls to increase your conversions and generate more sales.
Analyze Demographic Data
Maptive gives you access to a wide range of demographic data, including age, gender, housing, income, education level, labor, and more. See where your ideal customer is located and target them more effectively.
Map Your Locations and Sales Teams
Once you’ve determined where your ideal customers are located plot your business locations and sales reps to see who’s nearby. Use drive-time radii and polygons to assign reps to each customer. Then optimize their routes to save time and increase the number of customers they can visit in a day.
Target Your Customers More Effectively with Maptive
Uncover new insights about your customers and easily plot the geographic locations of your target audience with Maptive. Sign up for a free trial and start creating beautiful interactive maps today.
An effective sales territory plan improves the efficiency and performance of your entire team. Assigning territories to each of your reps makes dividing up accounts easy, ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to make a sale. With this strategy, customers always deal with the same rep, which also results in better customer relationship management.
Today’s businesses have access to advanced technology means building a sales territory plan is easier than ever. Tools like Maptive plot all your customers on an interactive map, greatly simplifying the process of creating effective territories.
Are you thinking about creating a sales territory plan for your business? Does your current plan need to be adjusted?
Keep reading to learn how sales territory planning works and how to do it effectively.
What is Sales Territory Planning?
Sales territory planning is the process of dividing your service area into different geographic regions that can be assigned to dedicated sales representatives.
Once a person is assigned a territory, they are responsible for any existing accounts in that region, along with new customers located within those boundaries. They also generate leads and prospects in the area to bring in new business.
Why is Sales Territory Planning Important?
Creating a good sales territory plan streamlines the sales process. The obvious benefit is that sales and accounts are divided up fairly, leading to a more equitable workplace.
While this is important, it’s far from the only benefit. Here are a few other reasons why sales territory planning is critical for your business:
Salespeople want the opportunity to succeed and grow within their roles, but this can’t happen when a few team members are taking all the sales for themselves. If your staff feel like they aren’t given a chance to reach their full potential, they may start looking elsewhere for employment.
This could result in you losing talented people to your competitors simply because you don’t have a proper sales territory plan. Hiring and onboarding new sales reps is also costly, so you want to reduce turnover as much as possible.
By creating sales territories, you make sure that everyone has a chance to achieve their goals. This means a higher employee retention rate and a positive reputation for your business.
Have you ever dealt with a company that makes you talk to a different person each time you call? Every time you speak to someone you have to repeat the same information about your business and your problems before they can help you.
By having a dedicated rep for each territory your customers will always deal with the same person. Sales reps will get to know their customers’ businesses and offer more personalized solutions to address their needs.
Compare Sales Territories
Once your territories are in place, you’ll have access to a wide range of data, including sales, customers, revenue, and more. This makes it easy to compare one region to another to see where you’re performing well and where you have room for improvement.
Say one of your territories is underperforming. Without any data, it’s difficult to know why. Is the sales rep assigned to that area not meeting expectations? Or are your products and services just not resonating with the demographics located there? Digging into the data can help you solve these problems.
Conversely, you can look at sales territories that are outperforming other regions to gather important insights. What is the sales rep in the area doing differently? Can the tactics being used there be applied to other territories to increase sales?
Answering these types of questions can help you take your business to the next level.
Make Adjustments as Your Business Grows
Sales territory planning isn’t over once your territories are established. Remember, as your business grows your sales territory plan needs to grow along with it.
For example, what happens if one of your reps lands an exceptionally large account? While this is great for both them and the business, it does present a problem for the other customers located in their territory. All of a sudden the rep doesn’t have as much time to follow up on leads and service other customers.
As your customer distribution changes, your territories will need to be adjusted. And as your customer base grows, you’ll eventually need to divide up existing territories and hire new staff.
Reduce Travel Costs
One of the biggest expenses associated with outbound sales is travel costs. The further your reps have to travel, the more it’s going to cost you, so it makes sense for you to reduce driving time as much as possible.
By assigning your sales reps to customers that are located nearby you’ll ensure they never have to travel too far to get to their next sales meeting. This means less fuel consumption and fewer repairs to their vehicles.
It also means they can meet with more customers in a single day, which will lead to added sales for your business.
Factors to Consider When Planning Sales Territories
It’s clear that established sales territories can benefit your business in a number of ways. But what goes into actually creating them? Here are three factors you should consider:
Distribution of Your Current Customers:Customer distribution should be your number one concern when creating sales territories. Make sure your accounts are divided up evenly. As your distribution changes, you may need to make adjustments to keep things balanced.
Where You Predict New Customers Will Come From:Are you targeting certain regions with marketing and promotions? Do your products and services appeal to specific demographics? Make sure to factor this in when drawing the boundaries of your sales territories.
Population:The more people that live in a given area, the more opportunity there will be to make sales. More densely populated areas may need to be split up into several smaller territories, while more rural areas might just require one larger territory.
How to Create a Sales Territory Plan in 6 Steps
Are you ready to create your sales territories? Don’t rush into it. In order to do it right, there are a number of steps you should take.
The best sales territory plans are built with extensive research and reliable data. The last thing you want is to spend a large amount of time drawing your territories only to have to redo the process a few months down the road.
When creating your territories there are six steps you need to follow:
1. Define Your Larger Sales Goals
Before you begin your plan you should figure out what exactly you’re looking to achieve. Once you establish your long-term goals, you can build your territories with them in mind.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
How many sales should each territory generate?
Is it realistic to expect the same results from each territory, or do you expect some regions to outperform others?
What can you do to set up each territory for success?
Which reps will give you the best chance to reach your goals?
After you answer these questions you should have a clearer picture of how your territories need to be drawn.
2. Analyze Your Prospects and Customers
Next, you’ll want to analyze your past performance to see if there are any trends that should be considered when creating your territories.
Most importantly, you need to understand your customers. To do this, answer the following questions:
What is your ideal customer profile? Refer to your data to get the most accurate results.
Where are your customers most likely to be located? Cities, suburbs, rural areas?
What regions are currently performing the best? Why?
What regions are currently underperforming? Why?
Are there any opportunities to expand your customer base? Which segments of the population have the best chance of becoming customers?
Get to the bottom of these questions to predict where your sales are most likely to come from. This will make it easier to create sales territories that are more evenly balanced.
3. Determine Your Total Addressable Market
Your total addressable market (TAM) is the maximum amount of money you can make selling your products and services. Essentially, it’s a way to measure the level of demand for what you’re selling.
While it’s important to base your territories on your current customers, you need to plan for the future as well. Figuring out your TAM will help you identify potential opportunities that are available to your business and new regions or segments of the population that need to be a part of your plan.
There are three ways to calculate your TAM:
Top-Down: Use industry research from reliable experts to estimate the potential demand for your products and services.
Bottom-Up: Take your current sales and apply them to the entire customer base of your market or industry.
Value-Theory: Estimate the value that you will provide to potential customers and determine whether you can effectively capture that value through pricing.
None of these methods are perfect, so it’s best to use a combination of all of them and base your conclusions on that. Make sure to consider these results when planning your territories.
4. Conduct a SWOT Analysis
Up to this point, we’ve been mainly focusing on your customer base. Now it’s time to analyze your business to see what you’re good at, what you need to improve, and what external factors could impact you.
The best way to do this is to perform a SWOT analysis. This stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A solid understanding of all of these is key to developing a winning sales territory plan.
Work your way through each area of the analysis to uncover important information about your business.
Strengths:Look at your team as a whole. Where do they excel? What do they do best? Then observe your individual sales reps. Do any of them have special skills that can be utilized to gain an advantage? Through your analysis, you may find certain reps are better suited to specific customer types.
Weaknesses: After you consider your strengths, you’ll need to think about your weaknesses. What does your team struggle with? Are there areas where they’re underperforming? What about individual team members? Do any of them have knowledge gaps? If any reps lack skills, consider investing in additional training.
Opportunities:Consider your products and services. Who can they benefit the most? Create a list, then see if all the people you listed are included in your current customer base. If not, there may be untapped markets that you can take advantage of. You should also consider areas where you have fewer competitors and factors that could increase the demand for your products.
Threats:No business is unstoppable, so it’s important to plan for the worst just in case. Could a new competitor take away some of your market share? Could a mistake result in bad press? Be sure to come up with every possible negative scenario so you’re prepared.
Once your SWOT analysis is complete, you’ll know what areas of your market and business need attention, making it easier to create a successful sales territory plan.
5. Assign Territories with Sales Rep Experience in Mind
Assigning the right sales reps to the right territories will play a big part in whether or not your plan is successful.
Your more experienced and skilled salespeople will be able to manage a higher number of accounts at once and will be better at handling more complex deals. On the other hand, new reps need to be eased in and given a lighter workload as they grow their skills.
So, while it may seem unfair at first, it makes sense to assign larger territories to some reps and smaller ones to others. In reality, you’re helping your less experienced team members by not overloading them too quickly.
As your reps prove they can handle more responsibility, adjust your sales territory plan to accommodate the changing dynamics of your team.
6. Continuously Analyze Your Plan and Improve
No plan will be perfect right from the start. Ensure your sales territories are successful by continually analyzing and optimizing them.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t achieve the results you expected straight away. Chances are you need to make minor adjustments to get back on track. This is part of effective sales territory management.
While tracking and analyzing your results make sure to consider the following:
Have overall sales increased or decreased since you implemented your plan?
Have sales increased or decreased in a specific region?
How do sales compare between territories? Which ones are excelling and which ones need improvement?
Are all of your reps meeting their sales quotas?
Do your territories need to be adjusted based on current sales and customer distribution?
Be sure to review your plan often and make changes as needed. If you stay on top of it you should begin to see your performance improve.
What does a completed multi-state territory sales plan look like?
Mapping software like Maptive makes visualizing your sales territories easy.
Gain additional insights by adding data such as leads, sales, and revenue to measure the performance of each territory. Use demographic insights to analyze your customer base in each region and determine the best targeting methods
Customize your sales territory map further by adding heat maps, radii, and optimized routes to give your sales reps the best chance at success.
For many American workers, the commute to and from work is one of the most frustrating parts of the day. Nobody likes being stuck in traffic, especially after a long day of work. This is why commute time often factors into where people choose to live and work.
So, what is the average commute time in major cities in the United States? We’ll show you which cities have the longest and shortest commutes, plus average travel times. And if you’re not currently happy with your commute we’ll give you a few tips to help you make it shorter.
Which Major American Cities Have the Longest Commute?
No real surprises here, with New York City clocking in with the worst commute. except maybe that Los Angeles, America’s second most populated city, doesn’t appear higher on this list. Many of these cities have larger metropolitan areas, so mean commute times include those who live in the suburbs and those who choose to live closer to work in the city. But, for the most part, if you want to live in or near one of the country’s busiest and most populated cities you’ll have to deal with a longer commute.
Which Major American Cities Have the Shortest Commute?
Buffalo and Columbus may not be the warmest cities, but the data shows that when it comes to average commute time by city they’re hard to beat, with commutes of around 20 minutes. And if you’re partial to warmer weather, Las Vegas, Virginia Beach, San Diego, and West Palm Beach also offer shorter estimated commutes.
How to Shorten Your Commute
It doesn’t matter how long your commute is: you probably wish the average time it takes you to get to work was shorter. Here are a few tips to shorten your commute so you can spend less time in traffic and more time at home.
Most people start work around 9 AM, which means the majority of metro areas experience the worst traffic between 8 AM and 9 AM. So, if you leave earlier you may be able to avoid the busiest times.
If you have a particularly bad commute, speak to your boss and see if you can start work a little earlier. It may also mean you can leave earlier. Even if that’s not the case, you may find it’s better to be at work for a few additional hours than being stuck in traffic.
Bike to Work
Traffic congestion doesn’t usually affect bicyclists, so if the traffic is particularly bad on your way to work you may find biking is faster. Biking to work has a number of additional benefits. Consider the money you will save on your annual fuel costs and car maintenance. Biking also reduces carbon emissions, helps you get additional exercise, and can be quite enjoyable.
Take Public Transportation
If your city has a good public transit system then this could be another option for you. Depending on where you work, a subway may get you to work quicker than your car, especially during rush hour. Even buses can be more efficient, especially if there are bus lanes that allow them to avoid traffic.
Try Alternate Routes
The most efficient route to and from work is often via a highway. But since most people commute at the same time in U.S. cities, the flow of traffic often comes to a halt.
Look at a map and see if there are any alternate routes or back roads you can take that will help you avoid traffic jams on the highways. These routes can get congested as well during busier times, but it’s usually not as bad as the main routes.
Use Mapping Software
Mapping software has become advanced, especially when it comes to route planning. For example, Maptive can optimize routes between multiple locations. This is especially advantageous for sales reps, real estate agents, and anyone whose commute might consist of more than just a simple drive from one location to another.
If you’re an employer and your business has multiple locations you may also want to consider using a radius tool to help reduce your employees’ daily commutes. By plotting each employee’s location on a map and creating a driving radius around them you can determine which of your locations are within reasonable driving distance for each of them.
This can help ensure that your team members are always working at a location close to them, which will help them cut down on their driving time.
Click here to learn more about Maptive’s mapping software offerings.
Average Driving Time by City: Should You Be Concerned About It?
This question really depends on your preferences. Some people are willing to accept a job that pays more even if the commute is long. Others may accept a pay cut to avoid a bad commute. It’s up to you.
If you’re stuck in a long commute, consider the tips above. You may be surprised to learn that a few small changes in your routine can reduce the amount of time you spend in traffic.