Research Report

The Extra Mile: Time to School and Student Outcomes in Washington, DC

We measure the relationship between travel time to school and students’ likelihood of transfer (and where they transfer to), attendance, and test scores in Washington, DC. Travel time to school is especially salient in DC, where roughly three-quarters of students attend a school other than the one tied to their neighborhood. A longer commute is associated with an increased likelihood of changing schools, both during and between school years, and with a slight increase in absenteeism. Despite these negative associations, we find essentially no difference in sixth-grade test score outcomes between peers who travel different distances to the same school.