Being the 6th largest city in the United States with a population of almost 1.6 million, it’s safe to say that it’s not Always Sunny in Philadelphia for commuters. On average, a commuter in Philly spends about 66 minutes per day en route to work and back home. But how much time do commuters spend coming from the outskirts to the city? And which towns rank the best for commuting to Philadelphia?
We compiled a top 10 list of towns by using a specific set of metrics to see which ones are the best for people who are coming to the city for work. We used a scoring system which includes commuting times, housing costs, school ratings as well as crime rates. We ended up with a shortlist of 6 New Jersey towns and 4 Pennsylvania towns.
We emphasized the importance of shorter traveling times (40% of the total score) and home affordability (30% of the total). Read more on our methodology at the end of this article.
Bellmawr, New Jersey: Highest Overall Score
According to our specific metrics, Bellmawr, NJ scored the most points and landed at #1 for being the best commuter town near Philadelphia. Even though it isn’t the closest town to Philly out of the 10, it’s only 9 miles away and on average, you’ll spend 31 minutes commuting.
Compared to the rest of the cities on the list, housing isn’t very expensive, as the median home sale price is $165,400. This, coupled with the short distance to Philly propelled Bellmawr to #1, racking up 83.4 points.
Bellmawr is also considered a safe city, with a crime rate of just 87. Furthermore, the city has good school ratings.
Gloucester City, New Jersey: Shortest Commute to Philly
Workers from Gloucester City spend the least amount of time commuting to Philadelphia. On average, you’ll spend about 17 minutes coming in for work, traveling about 7 miles. By car, you’ll spend between 14 and 16 minutes commuting, while taking the train will cost you 24 minutes of your time.
As far as distance goes, Gloucester City is tied with Collingswood, NJ although the average commute time to Philadelphia from there is 19 minutes.
Gloucester City also ranked best when it comes to housing prices, as the median home sale price here is $117,600, however, crime rate is slightly high—at 185.
Lansdale, Pennsylvania: Highest School Rating
Lansdale is among the furthest cities from Philadelphia among the top 10, a commuter spending on average 56 minutes en route to work, covering a distance of 18 miles. By having great school ratings and a small crime rate, it made its way to #4 on our list.
Most of the town’s residents use the SEPTA Main Line to commute to the city, spending about 1 hour on the train. By car, you can reach the city in less than 40 minutes.
Lansdale is densely populated, with a population of 16,500 and the median home sale price here is $227,400.
Haddonfield, New Jersey: Most Expensive, Lowest Crime Rate
Haddonfield is the most expensive town in our top 10, with low crime rates and very good education options. There are a handful of private schools in Haddonfield, including Haddonfield Friends School.
Bancroft, a leading non-profit provider of specialized services for individuals with brain injuries, autism and intellectual disabilities is headquartered in Haddonfield and operates an adjacent special education school and neurobehavioral stabilization program.
With great education opportunities come steep housing prices. The median home price here is near $500,000, and crime rates are at a low of 44.
On average, a commuter spends 24 minutes going into Philly.
Other Cities in the Series
Philadelphia is the 5th city we examine within our best commuter towns article series. Make sure to also check out which are the most suiting places to live in if you are a commuting to Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago or Boston.
We looked at towns located between 5 and 30 miles from Philadelphia. Each town was allocated points based on the following metrics: commuting time, housing value, crime rate, and school rating.
Points for commute time, housing cost, and crime rate were awarded inversely proportional to their value. Points for school ratings were awarded directly proportional to their value.
Entries could gather a maximum of 100 points, spread across the four metrics as follows: 40 points for commute time, 30 points for housing value, and 15 points each for crime rate and school rating.
The average commute time by car or mass transit was calculated by Google directions. We’ve considered the shortest typical trip time for arriving in Philadelphia between 07:40 – 08:10 on a Monday.
Housing values are based on a 5-year Census estimate (2013-2017) of the median price of owner-occupied housing units.
FBI crime rates indicate the number of violent crimes committed per 100,000 residents. We only included towns that have a violent crime rate lower than the state average of 353 crimes per 100,000 residents for Pennsylvania and 229 for New Jersey.
School ratings were calculated based on the average score by town for schools that had a review on GreatSchools.com by April 2019.
Cities with less than 10,000 residents, based on 2017 Census estimates, were excluded from the list.