How Long Will it Take Me To Get to School?

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Publication Date
August 2020


Philadelphia’s high school selection process is a complex one for students and their families. Under normal circumstances, transportation to school is an important factor to consider. Average public transit times can vary widely by school in Philadelphia-from 16 to over 40 minutes. More than 3,400 students have public transit commutes of 50 minutes or longer each way. Long and complex commutes can directly influence attendance, academic achievement, engagement in school, and many health factors associated with sleep.

Public transportation to school is even more important during the COVID pandemic. As Philadelphia determines when and how to bring students back to school, this study can help guide families, students, the School District, City Council, and SEPTA with planning the safest public transit possible–especially for students with long commutes to out-of-catchment schools and commutes that involve multiple transfers.

Released as the second report in Research for Action’s “Back to School” series produced by our Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC) initiative, this report uses high school student enrollment and residence data to estimate student commute times to all 52 traditional high schools in Philadelphia using public transportation.



  • Molly Pileggi
  • Alyn Turner