More Reverse Commuters on North Texas Roads: Report

Reverse commuting in Houston and Atlanta is also on the rise

What to Know

  • In Dallas, the number of people making a reverse commute is up 12 percent.
  • An expert said the trend is caused by job growth in the suburbs and a rise in city living.
  • Research showed reverse commutes have risen in other major cities like Houston and Atlanta.

If it seems like the days of going against traffic are long gone, it may not be your imagination. New research from real estate firm JLL showed reverse commutes are trending up in major metropolitan areas all over the country. In Dallas, reverse commuting is up by 12 percent with more people traveling from their homes in the city to work in the suburbs.

"We've had the suburbs and we still will have that and that's where the growth is happening, but we also have this kind of re-envisioning of the urban core," said JLL Director of Research in Dallas Walter Bialas.

A recent JLL study shows 86-percent of people who live in Dallas work there too, but 6-percent of drivers commute from Dallas to Collin and Tarrant Counties. 2-percent of workers driver from Dallas County to Denton County.

"There's a culture kind of arising up north, but you have even more culture in Dallas," said senior research analyst Clayton Schliemer. "You have the comfortable office space up there, and you have the commuters traveling frm the cultured downtown Dallas area up north."

Bialas said the combination of a growth in jobs in the suburbs and a resurgence in city living shows the trend isn't slowing down. He added the housing market is tightening in North Texas, contributing to new home buyers in the city.

"People are really looking for the next neighborhoods to live in and a lot of those are in places like East Dallas, but also in the Oak Cliffs of the world," Bialas explained. "At the same time, you have major employers coming into the suburbs so you have a push and pull going on within our market."

For those who make the reverse commute, traffic can be just as heavy leaving the city in the morning as it is traveling in.

Kelsey Soul moved to North Texas a year and a half ago to work at Toyota's North American Headquarters in Plano. She decided to live in Dallas' Uptown neighborhood, where she hoped to make friends in a new city. She researched her commute, but found it ended up being longer than she expected.

"As a young person, I wanted to live in a more populated area and around where I thought people my age would live," Soul said.

She doesn't regret the choice, but has had to come to terms with spending more time in the car.

"I had a reverse commute in the last city I lived in and it actually worked like a reverse commute, it was shorter. It didn't take as much time and it wasn't as much traffic, but here it is pretty equal,” Soul said.

Ty Timmins, who lives in the Lake Highlands area of Dallas, also commutes to Plano for his job as a loan officer. His wife commutes to Irving, but the family isn't planning a change even as they notice their commute times tick up.

"For us, it's a way of life. Our friends are there," Timmins said. "I've seen a lot of change, I have had to change my route big time coming and going back home."

JLL's research showed similar increases in reverse commuting in Houston and Atlanta. Bialas said the research may have wider implications for how public transit is used in the future as roads become more clogged, no matter what direction commuters take.

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