Connecticut realtors recently upgraded the software we use to access our MLS database. The primary improvement was a modernization of the site that our clients use to browse property matches. There were some behind-the-scenes changes that impact agents, but nothing particularly noteworthy.
While testing out the new system, I found the feature that searches by “Drive Time.” It allows us to create a search to find properties within a certain commuting distance. Specifically, I set the destination, the arrival time, and the drive time, and the system creates a shape that includes all the places that I could leave from considering typical traffic at that time of the day.
For example, here is the shape it creates when I tell it I want to have a 15 minute commute and arrive at the intersection of Main and Pearl in Downtown Hartford by 8:30 AM.
Along the Interstate 84 corridor you’re okay from the Park Road exit in West Hartford all the way out to the 384 interchange in Manchester. The 291 interchange is the northern-most limit, and the Route 3 interchange is the southern-most limit. The shape is definitely organized around highway access, as the northwest quadrant of the map shows a surprisingly short distance is within 15 minutes along Albany Avenue (Route 44).
What if we choose an arrival time that is outside of rush hour, say 2:00 PM? Driving in the early afternoon allows much more of the region to reach Downtown Hartford within 15 minutes.
I’m still skeptical of the non-highway routes. I regularly drive Downtown from the Albany Avenue area and think that the map understates how many homes are within 15 minutes, especially during non-rush hour times.
Despite my one concern, the Drive Time feature is an interesting tool to be able to use when defining search criteria for buyers. Commute time is important when considering where to live, and this gives us a way to estimate distances that correspond to times.