Sprawl costs Denver metro commuters hundreds of dollars a year

staff photo
Globeville's Saint Joseph Polish Catholic Church seen across I-70. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)


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Globeville's Saint Joseph Polish Catholic Church seen across I-70. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Research says sprawl costs Denver metro commuters $716 each year. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that, for this study, that’s not so bad. The average U.S. worker pays $1,400.

Researcher Daniel Hertz of City Observatory looked at sprawl in the top 50 metropolitan areas of the United States and calculated how much shorter commutes would be if the city didn’t take up so much space. To find the cost, he used AAA’s cost per mile for an mid-range sedan, then multiplied that by the “excess commuting distance,” which is the difference between the actual commute distance and the shorter distance in a compacted metro.

The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro was 41st, when it comes how much commuting costs you. That puts us in the company of the Tampa and San Diego metros.

Update: The caption has been changed to correct the name of the church.