Indicator Rationale

Commuting to work is a daily necessity for most Australians. Long commute distances are typically associated with lengthy commute times which can have a significant negative impact on aspects of the economy, the environment and the social fabric of communities.  

Long commute times are known to cause increased levels of stress and decrease the performance and productivity of employees. Additionally, long commute times can negatively impact work-life balance and time away from home, leading to detrimental effects on family and other social relationships.  This compounds workplace stress and may significantly impact the overall physical and mental health of employees. By contrast, shorter commute times are likely to be associated with a positive work-life balance and increase the likelihood of maintaining healthy family and social relationships and self-care.

Dependence on cars is higher in areas with poor public transport and especially high where individuals have to commute long distances to get to work. Cars and other private vehicles are not only costly to purchase, but require ongoing expenditure in terms of fuel, maintenance, parking and registration costs.  

When employees live closer to their workplaces, the likelihood of commuting to work using public transport, walking or cycling, as opposed to relying on private vehicles, is increased.  The use of public and active transport reduces traffic congestion and emissions from private vehicles which positively supports the built and natural environment as well as an individual’s physical activity.

Relevant Sustainable Development Goals


Percentage of employed persons living and working in the same SA3


The Australian Bureau of Statistics Table Builder Pro was used to create a table using 2016 Census data which contained counts of people by SA1 who live in the same SA3.  These counts were converted to percentages to create this indicator.

For more information on local employment please visit Labour Market Insights and Labour Market Information Portal developed by the Australian National Skills Commission.


Australian Bureau of Statistics. Census of Population and Housing: Commuting to Work – More Stories from the Census. (2016). cat. no. 2071.0.55.001

Badland H, Davern M, Villanueva K, Mavoa S, Milner A, Roberts R, Giles-Corti B. (2016). Conceptualising and measuring spatial indicators of employment through a liveability lens. Social Indicators Research, 127, 565–576.

Badland H, Milner A, Roberts R, Giles-Corti B. (2017). Are area-level measures of employment associated with health behaviours and outcomes? Social Indicators Research, 134:237-251