DFW Commuters: Where do they come from? Where are they going?

0 CommentsBy

By JLL Dallas, July 26, 2018

Recently, JLL issued a report entitled “Ambitious Thinking: Smart Cities.”  The study highlighted a trend across the country that urban areas were gaining a highly educated talent pool faster than the suburbs – and that a large share of these new residents, especially here in Dallas-Fort Worth, reverse commute to take advantage of the preferred urban lifestyle while working in the neighboring areas.

As we drive around our metroplex during rush hour, we can see this reverse commuting pattern.  Just look along US 75 or the DNT and there is a heavy flow of traffic in both directions.

The observation led to a follow-up questions asked by many: “Where do they come from? Where are they going?”

Although “perfect” data does not readily exist, our research team was able to use the same source as the JLL report – the US Census’ American Community Survey, which collects county-to county, live-work travel patterns.

Clay Schleimer, Senior Research Analyst, and Walter Bialas, Vice President, Market Research, looked at DFW’s most populated core counties – Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton – and discovered some interesting trends. The chart below, called a “Sankey” diagram, illustrates these commuter flows – where people live and where they work by county. We’ve also included a data chart so you can easily see the magnitude of the numbers and where people are going.

As you can see in the matrix below, while many live and work in the same county (see the red highlighted numbers), many travel outside their home county to work.  For example, according to the Census, of the 1.08 million people that live in Dallas County, 934,000 work in Dallas County, or 86 percent.  Interestingly, more than 60,000 Dallas residents commute to Tarrant and Collin, with 21,000 driving to Denton.  In the case of Collin, 232,000 live and work in the county, while 146,000 (37% of the workers) come into Dallas for work.












There are lots of discussion points around where people choose to live and where they work, beyond job proximity. Schools are a major shaper, as is home affordability, and being close to family and friends, as well as convenient retail options, entertainment and the like.

Where do you live and work, and why?  Let us know.