The Herald Bulletin

March 27, 2011

Nearly one in four commutes to work from county

Number has swelled in the past five years

By Dave Stafford
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Every day, more than 20,000 Madison County residents hit the road to go to work. But if you only have to drive to Fishers or Indianapolis, consider Ed Miller’s commute.

Miller, who helps people in central Indiana find jobs, lives in Richmond but commutes daily to Anderson — “there’s no good way to get there, either,” he sighed. “It takes an hour, an hour and 20 minutes.”

As business services manager for WorkOne’s Indiana Region 5 Workforce Board, Miller’s commutes often take him as far as Lebanon or Mooresville, so he’s familiar with dreaded rush hours on Interstate 69 between Anderson and Indianapolis. “It starts backing up around Noblesville,” he said.

More than 24 percent of workers who live in Madison County commuted to their jobs in 2008, chiefly to Marion and Hamilton counties, according to the most recent available data from Stats Indiana. That compares with 19 percent of workers in the county who commuted to their jobs five years earlier.

But commuting to work is a two-way street. In 2008, 11.6 percent of the Madison County workforce drove here from outside the county, and the greatest number of those came from Delaware and Hamilton counties. The number of people commuting into Madison County is up slightly from 11 percent five years earlier, according to the data.

Miller said it’s difficult to predict whether the number of commuters will continue to increase, but “the feeling from the information we’ve got from businesses is there will be more jobs in Madison County.”

He said that in February, there were more job orders for any time since the tracking system began in July 2008 in the district that includes Madison and all of the suburban counties surrounding Indianapolis.

According to Stats Indiana, 20,024 Madison County residents commuted to work outside the county in 2008, compared with 15,949 who left the county for work five years earlier.

Statistics on commuters show that in 2008, Madison County residents traveled for work to these counties in the following numbers:

But according to Stats Indiana, there are some commuters who might look favorably on the commute that Miller makes every work day. The data from 2008 show that 11 people who live in Madison County commute to Wisconsin for work. Meanwhile, 30 people drive to Madison County for work from Kentucky, Stats Indiana reports.

Contact Dave Stafford: 648-4250, dave.stafford@heraldbulletin.com