MassBio’s 2019 Transportation Survey Finds 60% of Respondents Would Change Jobs for a Better Commute

Sep 24, 2019

The worsening transportation in Massachusetts is impacting employee satisfaction, hurting employers’ ability to attract and retain talent

September 25, 2019 (CAMBRIDGE, MA) – The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio®) today released a report on the state of transportation in Massachusetts, detailing the results of a survey of 2,133 professionals who work in or support the life sciences to better understand of how transportation in Massachusetts is impacting the industry’s ability to recruit and retain talent.

“It’s clear from the survey results that we are in fact at a breaking point – traffic congestion and failures on the MBTA are worse than ever, and employees are making decisions on where to work based on their commutes,” said Robert K. Coughlin, President & CEO, MassBio. “MassBio is working with our members to ease their employees’ commuting burden in the short-term, but there is a real need for government to come up with lasting solutions – not just to fix what’s broken, but to support further growth. MassBio looks forward to being part of the solution.”

The survey findings include:

  • Transportation in Massachusetts has been a problem for some time, but things seem to be worse than ever.
    • When asked if their average commute is better, the same or worse than last year, 59% of respondents say it’s worse.
    • Average commute times are also getting longer, with 61% of respondents commuting over 45 minutes and 39% over an hour. Nearly 50% (47%) of those who take public transportation commute for over an hour.
  • Delays on the MBTA are at an all-time-high, causing major frustration among commuters. For those that rely on public transportation, in the past month:
    • 79% have been late for work due to delays on public transportation.
    • 69% have been late for personal commitments after work.
    • 61% had public transportation service break down at least once.
  • The worsening transportation in Massachusetts is impacting employee satisfaction, hurting employers’ ability to attract and retain talent.
    • 60% of respondents would change jobs for a better commute.
    • 76% of those who use the commuter rail as their primary mode of transport would change jobs for a better commute.
    • Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents have even considered moving to a different state for a better commute.
  • Employers are taking steps to help ease their employees’ commuting burden. However, there is room for growth, especially compared to other states as Massachusetts is still behind the nation in adopting formal work-from-home policies. Flex hours are more prevalent, but this has limited impact as the rush hour in Greater Boston lasts longer than ever.
    • Only 28% of respondents can work from home at least one day a week, while 74% can work from home at least occasionally.
      • In Massachusetts, only 4.7% of the workforce telecommutes full time, lower than in 19 other states, according to a report from FlexJobs.
    • 75% of respondents can work flex hours.
  • Transportation is top of mind for the Massachusetts state government, and residents of Massachusetts are clamoring for solutions.
    • 82% of respondents do not think the Massachusetts state government is doing enough to improve the state’s transportation systems.
    • 64% are likely or very likely to support increased taxes or fees to fix the transportation systems.

MassBio is part of the Massachusetts Business Coalition on Transportation, led by the Greater Boston Chamber, that is seeking to develop solutions to the state’s transportation issues. According to James E. Rooney, President & CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, “The findings from MassBio’s survey are not unique to the life sciences, but reflect the experiences of those in all industries and show the urgent need for immediate, bold solutions. The business community is clamoring to be part of the solution and rightfully demand more accountability to ensure we get the world class transportation system our state needs to be competitive.”

“MassBio’s survey confirms what we’ve heard from employees across Kendall Square and across the Commonwealth: we are facing a transportation crisis and enough is enough,” said C.A. Webb, President, Kendall Square Association. “We can’t continue to drive Massachusetts’ enviable economy forward if we don’t fix our current transportation system and routinely plan for future needs. Ultimately, we can build the transportation system we all deserve and our economy needs. We must start now.”

Download the full report here.

For media inquiries, contact Jennifer Nason.

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