January 19, 2021
Business Transportation

How Covid-19 Affected America’s Rush Hour In 2020 [Infographic]

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TomTom has released its latest Traffic Index which gauged congestion levels in 416 cities across 57 countries. This year’s edition is particularly interesting given the extent to which Covid-19 turned conventional working patterns upside down, dramatically altering global traffic patterns. TomTom reported that their findings for 2020 are unlike anything they have seen before with 387 cities experiencing a significant decrease (average of 21%) in overall congestion, as well as an astonishing 28% average decrease in congestion during rush hours. Before the pandemic struck, global traffic congestion was increasing by 2% to 3% per year on average.

Los Angeles and New York were named the most traffic-choked cities in the United States in 2020, though their congestion levels were down 15% and 11%, respectively, compared to 2019. The index also includes some interesting data showing how the pandemic affected America’s rush hour last year. Urban congestion grew 1% in the January morning rush hour compared to the same month in 2019 while it remained unchanged during the evening commute. By April, when the U.S. was buckling under a deadly wave of Covid-19, lockdowns and remote working were widely implemented and that had a huge impact on commuter traffic. That month, morning congestion was 74% lower than in April 2019 while it was 75% lower during the evening rush hour.

As of December 2020, morning rush hour congestion was still 57% lower than in 2019 while evening traffic jams were down 41%. TomTom states that the Covid-19 pandemic could change traffic forever if society embraces the shift in mobility and takes a new path towards a safer, cleaner, congestion-free future. Remote working and flexible office hours would be key in driving that transition while more mindful and eco-friendly traffic choices would cut emissions, slash reliance on fossil fuels and protect the planet for future generations to enjoy.

*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)

How Covid-19 Affected America's Rush Hour In 2020

Average change in urban congestion levels in 2020 compared to 2019.

Statista