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Commuters wait for taxis in Johannesburg every day .

Commuters are employees whose commute between home and place of work must cross the border of the community of residence - according to the definition in Germany.


Since the place of work and place of residence are often not identical, the employee has to accept a commute. The commute to work is neither part of working hours nor is it part of leisure time , but counts as part of the mandatory period during which “activities such as household and repair work , visits to the authorities ...” are carried out. The length of this commute decides whether an employee is considered a commuter and which means of transport he chooses to get to work . The point at which a worker becomes a commuter is controversial. On the one hand, crossing the border of your place of residence should be sufficient; on the other hand, a commute of 45 minutes or an hour or more ("long-distance commuters") is considered a commuter route. In 2014, in the modal split in Germany, 66.8% used private motorized transport , 14.0% public transport , 9% are pedestrians and 8.8% use bicycles on the way to work.

The term commuter refers to the word pendulum , as a commuter regularly moves back and forth between home and work.


A distinction is made between commuters who commute daily or weekly from home to work and are therefore regarded as local or long-distance commuters. The statistics of the Federal Employment Agency draw the line between local and long-distance commuters or day and weekend commuters at a distance of around 150 km between home and work. The total number of commuters is divided into inbound and outbound commuters; In relation to the place, out- commuters have their place of residence, but not their place of work in the municipality to which reference is made. The commuter balance is the difference between inbound and outbound commuters. Weekend commuters spend the non-working weekend at their main residence, while most of their working days are spent at their place of work.
The ratio of commuters to employees in a municipality is known as the commuter rate .

Internal commuters or intra-community commuters travel within the community. Outside working commuters (commuters in the general sense) can also be referred to as commuters . This usage can be found in the statistics on the economy and the studies of traffic flows.

Commuters in the evening traffic jam
Chinese rural residents make up for the way to work to Pingyao a carpool

Commuters in different states


In Germany, the commuter rate was 60% in 2015, while in North Rhine-Westphalia there was a commuter rate of 50.6% of all employed persons. Here pointed Dusseldorf - related to the workers at the work - most commuters (58%), followed by Bonn (55.4%), food (46.6%), Duisburg (45.6%), Muenster and Bochum ( 44.6%) or Cologne (44.1%). Cologne led with the absolute number of 315,744 in-commuters, followed by Düsseldorf (296,037). According to another statistic, Frankfurt am Main led Germany with 313,650 inbound commuters, followed by Munich (308,990), Hamburg (294,460), Berlin (220,880), Cologne (214,940) and Düsseldorf (209,890).


In Austria , more than half of the working population (2011: 53.8%) are commuters, the proportion is tending to rise slightly.


In Switzerland , the out-commuter quota has risen sharply for many years, from 41% in 1980 to 50% in 1990 and 58% in 2000. From 1990 to 2016 the number of commuters increased from 2,945,422 to 3,925,260.


In the catchment area of ​​the “Aree metropolitane” (metropolitan areas around Milan , Genoa , Turin and Trieste ), the phenomenon of commuters (“Pendolari”) is widespread. A special case are the “Frontalieri” (cross-border commuters) who work in Switzerland (at higher wages than in Italy) and live near the Swiss border in Italy (in the Varesotto, around Como and Chiavenna), where the cost of living is lower. A special agreement has been concluded between Switzerland and Italy for the taxation of the Frontalieri. The Romans who work in the Vatican are also considered cross-border commuters.

If the distances to the workplaces become too great for daily commuting (for example to northern Switzerland or southern Germany), the cross-border commuters turn into emigrants who try to settle in the country of work temporarily or permanently.

Work country Frontier workers
San MarinoSan Marino San Marino 6,500
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 73 262
MonacoMonaco Monaco 3,700
FranceFrance France 1,500
Vatican cityVatican Vatican city 1,894


Commuters are a by-product of the increasing mobility of the population. This allows z. For example, city dwellers in the urban environs are using cheaper building sites, which is known as urban sprawl . On the other hand, there is the trend that new workplaces are increasingly emerging near metropolitan areas - which in turn attract residents of rural areas. A special case are commuters who travel back and forth between the cities of a metropolitan area (e.g. Rhine-Ruhr ) or a metropolitan region .

The number of long-distance commuters is increasing in Germany. The main reason is the generally increasing mobility in the labor market with more frequent job changes, combined with the desire to stay close to family and friends. The increasing real estate price differential between metropolitan cities and rural regions as well as the housing shortage in metropolitan areas are favorable factors, as are the expansion of faster transport routes that enable daily commuting over longer distances (e.g. Berlin-Wolfsburg or Cologne-Frankfurt). The main groups of long-distance commuters are, on the one hand, executives from business, science and administration, who frequently change jobs, and, on the other hand, residents of structurally weak rural areas who are family or property-bound without sufficiently attractive workplaces close to home.

Studies by the sociologist Norbert F. Schneider showed that commuters suffer more frequently from psychosomatic illnesses such as headaches and back pain, do less sport or go to preventive medical check-ups and are generally under time pressure . The more the person sees the decision to commute as being determined by others and not as his or her own decision, the greater the impact.

In a cohort analysis by the German General Local Health Insurance Fund , there was an increase in the risk of reporting sickness due to a mental problem the longer the commute between main residence and place of work. Of those insured who traveled a maximum of ten kilometers, eleven percent reported sick at least once due to mental problems in 2017. With a commute of at least 50 km the rate was twelve percent, with more than 500 km it was 12.6%.

Transportation and traffic routes

Parking for commuters

In 2004 there were around 30 million commuters (inland and inbound and outbound commuters) in Germany , including around 360,000 working “weekend commuters” ( not counting schoolchildren , students , self-employed ). 1.5 million of them traveled more than 50 kilometers to their place of work and are therefore considered to be long-distance commuters. The number of commuters increased by 11% between 2004 and 2012. According to the Federal Statistical Office, "31% of commuters in metropolitan areas [...] use buses and trains." Outside the centers, however, public transport is used less.

In Austria, the statistics from 2011 show commuters for 2009 according to the nine federal states. According to this, there were 981,085 inbound and outbound commuters among 3,793,441 employed persons in their place of residence, of which 479,219 inbound commuters (12.7%) and 500,866 (13.2%) outbound commuters.

The most common means of transport used by commuters in 2012 in the German states was motorized individual transport with around 60 to 70% and in the city states of Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg with around 35 to 45%. Commuters with higher incomes prefer the car. The Federal Statistical Office stated in 2000: “While 78% of commuters with a monthly net income of over DM 6,000 came to work with their own car, only around 52% of commuters with a monthly income between DM 1,000 and 1,800 drove by car ”.

The Federal Statistical Office further states for the period 2005 to 2012: “Little changes in distance, time and choice of means of transport”, with “a good 70% of the employed in Germany spending less than 30 minutes on their way to work”. In addition: "Public transport is hardly used outside of the cities and metropolitan areas". "Longer commuter routes encourage the use of the car".

In public transport reduced also for commuters monthly and annual passes available. Likewise, the transport companies use additional vehicles on heavily used routes at peak times for the way to work and in the afternoon for the way home.

Some companies organize a company-owned commuter network for their widely dispersed workforce, which they either cover with company buses or bring commuters together via car-sharing agencies , e.g. As the E.ON AG , BMW AG or the Ford-Werke GmbH for its German locations. Individual companies also offer job tickets for local public transport instead of company parking spaces.

Commuters in metropolitan areas

Commuters are all persons whose job or company training place is in a different municipality than the municipality of residence. Depending on the direction of commuting, a distinction is made between inbound and outbound commuters. According to this, commuters are all employees subject to social insurance contributions who live outside the city and work in the city.

Table of cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants in German-speaking countries in the order of the number of commuters: Population from 2014; % Figures in relation to the inhabitants. The cities of Düsseldorf and Frankfurt have a remarkably high number of commuters in relation to the residents, while only a few are in Berlin, Vienna, Leipzig, Dresden and Hamburg. The number of out-commuters is very low in the three largest cities Vienna, Berlin and Hamburg, but very high in Dortmund, Essen and Düsseldorf. The commuter balance of the commuter movements has a negative effect on the state budget of the three city-states Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen, since the employees pay their income tax at their place of residence. This has a particularly strong impact in Bremen, with a balance of 83,640 commuters (= 15% of the population).

city Residents commuter % Commuters % Commuters % balance %
Berlin (2013) 3,469,849 462.100 13 293,800 9 168,300 5 125,500 4th
Munich (2011) 1,429,584 460,495 32 325.204 23 135.291 9 189,913 13
Cologne (2013) 1,046,680 443,513 42 304.608 29 138.905 13 165.703 16
Hamburg (2012) 1,762,791 423,349 24 321,000 18th 102,349 6th 218,651 12
Frankfurt a. M.  (2013) 717.624 413.102 57 336.050 47 77.052 11 258.998 36
Düsseldorf (2013) 604,527 378.728 63 287,462 48 91,266 15th 196.196 33
Vienna (2011) 1,794,770 326.284 18th 246.922 14th 79,362 4th 167,560 9
Stuttgart (2014) 604.297 306,698 51 228,562 38 78.136 13 150.426 25th
Hanover (2016) 532.163 231,447 43 173.315 33 58,132 11 115.183 22nd
Food (2013) 573.784 231.081 40 139,370 24 91 711 16 47 659 8th
Dortmund (2013) 580.511 218,549 38 130,582 23 87,967 16 42,615 7th
Nuremberg (2007) 501.072 191,000 38 140,000 28 51,000 10 89,000 18th
Bremen (2018) 568.006 190,500 33 138,200 24 52,300 9 85,900 15th
Leipzig (2012) 544.479 136,865 25th 86,849 16 50,016 9 36,833 7th
Dresden (2013) 536.308 134,466 25th 86.064 16 48,402 9 37,662 7th

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: commute  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Commuting  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Thomas Pütz, Federal Institute for Building, Urban and Spatial Research, "Verkehrsbild Deutschland 2015", p. 4
  2. Renate Rau, On the interaction between work, strain and relaxation , in: Eva Bamberg / Antje Ducki / Anne-Marie Metz (eds.), Health Promotion and Health Management in the Working World, 2011, p. 84
  3. ^ Giovanni Costal / Laurie Pickup / Vittorio di Martino, Commuting - A further stressfactor for working people , in: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health vol. 60, 1988, pp. 377-385
  4. Norbert F. Schneider / Ruth Limmer / Kerstin Ruckdeschel, Berufsmobilität und Lebensform , 2002, p. 25
  5. Commuter Atlas of the Federal Employment Agency
  6. WDR from January 18, 2017, Every second person in North Rhine-Westphalia is a commuter
  7. Statista The statistics portal, German cities with the most employed people from the surrounding area
  8. Statistics Austria: Statistics → Population → Commuters (updated content, accessed on January 26, 2015 based on the 2011 register census).
  9. Statistics Austria: More than 500,000 people in employment leave their federal state of residence to work , press release 10.124-270 / 11, Vienna December 6, 2011.
  10. Martin Schuler, Dominique Joye: Typology of the municipalities of Switzerland , p. 7 (pdf, see above).
  11. Mobility study: Switzerland commutes In:, August 27, 2018, accessed on September 1, 2018.
  12. ( Page no longer available , search in web archives: Tassa frontalieri: si apre il caso in Parlamento )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  13. ^ "Ufficio federale di statistica"
  14. ^ Convenzione sanitaria con Monaco per i frontalieri italiani: "istruzioni per l'uso"
  15. Proposta di legge per il lavoro difendere frontaliero
  16. Vaticano, questo piccolo grande Stato  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  17. Tatjana Kimmel-Fichtner: "Commuters suffer from psychosomatic illnesses": In an interview, mobility expert Norbert F. Schneider explains why long-term travel between work and home is stressful and how commuters would be relieved. Zeit online, November 26, 2010, accessed February 6, 2011 .
  18. hil: Long-distance commuters more often mentally ill. Deutsches Ärzteblatt 2018, Volume 115, Issue 14 of April 6, 2018, Page A624
  19. Federal Statistical Office on commuters
  20. Statistics Austria: Table 1
  21. Federal Statistical Office in Statis: Number of commuters increases by 11% and large differences between the federal states when commuting . May 6, 2014
  22. ditto
  23. The E.ON ride-sharing platform for private and business trips. (No longer available online.) E.ON company car sharing agency, June 13, 2011, archived from the original on April 15, 2013 ; Retrieved June 13, 2011 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  24. ^ Office for Statistics Berlin-Brandenburg: Press release No. 93 of April 3, 2014.
  25. Statistical Office of the City of Munich: Commuter entanglements in the city of Munich in: Münchner Statistics, 4th quarterly issue, year 2012.
  26. NRW: Commuters in NRW ( Memento from April 17, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  27. World Economic Institute (HWWI): Commuter study
  28. IHK: Mobile Workers ( Memento of the original from April 17, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  29. like Cologne
  30. Statistics Austria: Table 1
  31. Citizens Service Stuttgart: Commuters ( Memento of the original from April 17, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  32. Number of commuters rises sharply , IHK Hannover  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  33. like Cologne
  34. like Cologne
  35. ^ The Nuremberg job market , nü
  36. More and more people commute to work in Bremen . In: buten and within 24 January 2019.
  37. ^ City of Leipzig: Quarterly Statistical Report II / 2013: Commuters 2012
  38. ^ Commuters in Dresden, ( Memento from April 18, 2015 in the Internet Archive )