Traffic jams will return after the pandemic, study says
As the coronavirus pandemic forced many of us to stay home and initiated work-from-home routines across the globe, traffic congestion fell significantly last year. But the time of clearer roads and lesser honking might be over soon. Unfortunately, traffic jams will be back soon after the pandemic gets under control, the US-based GPS company TomTom's 2020 Traffic Index has found. Here are more details.
The annual index, that looks at all major cities in the US to rank them based on traffic congestion, showed that rankings for each of them did not change much compared to 2019. However, traffic congestion dropped by a major 21% last year. Los Angeles remained the most congested city in the country, while New York City and Miami ranked second and third respectively.
TomTom calculates congestion level for a city using a baseline of an uncongested scenario. For example, a congestion level percentage of 27% for Los Angeles means the city's residents spent 27% more time in traffic as compared to a trip taken during the city's baseline.
Even as the drop in traffic congestion comes as a sigh of relief, the trend triggered by the health crisis is not here to stay. Ralf-Peter Schäfer, TomTom's VP of traffic and travel, said the US will once again fall into pre-coronavirus routines once the pandemic has been controlled. This is because more and more people will start returning to their offices and schools.
"Although traffic congestion was down in 2020, it's not going to become a trend. We're going to see traffic levels shoot up again," Schäfer has said. "That's why now is the time that city planners, policy makers, employers -- and drivers -- should take stock of what action they will take to make the roads less congested in the future."