This mesmerizing data map shows where Boston’s workers commute from every morning

One lone dot even travels from north of Augusta, Maine.

The commute data map gives a sense of where workers are living and working in metropolitan areas. –Screenshot/ILikeBigBytes

Perhaps you’ve been stuck in traffic on the Mass. Pike or I-93 on the way to work and found yourself wondering, “Where do all these people come from?” Well, a recent data map answers exactly that question by showing the commuting patterns of hundreds of thousands of people across the country, including in Greater Boston.

The map was created by Ann Arbor, Michigan resident Mark Evans, founder of mobile shopping service Mobyus, who has a penchant for big data.

In a recent blog post, Evans created an interactive (and somewhat hypnotic) visualization of where workers are living and working in metro areas around the U.S.


When you set the map to show people who work in Suffolk County, brightly colored dots, their size representative of the number of commuters in a given location, appear in Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York. One lone dot even travels from north of Augusta, Maine (close to a three hour drive away).

The animation above shows 341,051 commuters who work in Suffolk County and travel between 0 to 100 miles to get home each day.

Before you feel too bad for the Maine resident: the map shows that most commuters live much, much closer to Boston.

Over 310,000 commuters live within 20 miles of Boston, mostly in Suffolk, Middlesex, and Norfolk counties, according to the map. When the parameters are expanded to include those traveling up to 50 miles to work, the number of total commuters only jumps to around 340,000 people.

Meanwhile, the number of commuters traveling 100 miles or more to work each day is under 100.

The commuter data Evans used was supplied as part of the American Community Survey, maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Users can play around with Evans’s map by choosing various states and counties to see where workers live and how far they’re commuting into (or out of) the city each day.


Evans writes on his blog that he likes to “play with new visualizations and data analytics techniques” that he developed from his extensive experience in working with data, systems design, and bridging the gap between business and technology.

Play around with the interactive commute map here.

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