Commuting or the journey to work makes up an important part of transport. It should therefore be a target of climate policies that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport. To design an effective climate-transport policy package, this article constructs a framework consisting of two core aspects of commuting patterns driven by five categories of underlying factors. Policy implications are derived from this. The set of factors and policies are then studied for the Barcelona Metropolitan Region in Spain. We find that it is essential to limit dispersion of the population and provide spatially adequate public transport services. In addition, effects of imperfections in labour and housing markets, and commuter bias in transport preferences towards car use, should be addressed in policy. © 2014 Hong Kong Society for Transportation Studies.