The 2020 edition of TomTom’s Traffic Index has found that the global pandemic brought about a halt to increasing levels of traffic congestion in cities around the world as lockdowns led to a far lower volume of commuters. Out of 416 cities analyzed by TomTom in 57 countries, congestion decreased in 387.
In the United States, Los Angeles and New York were named the most congested cities in 2020, though their traffic levels declined 15 percent and 11 percent, respectively, compared to 2019. The index reveals how the pandemic influenced America’s morning and evening rush hours last year with its key findings illustrated on this infographic. In January 2020, morning rush hour congestion grew 1 percent compared to the same month in 2019 with the volume unchanged in the evening.
By April, however, the situation had changed drastically amid a tidal wave of Covid-19 cases and lockdowns. That month, U.S. cities saw 74 percent lower congestion during the morning rush hour than the equivalent month in 2019 while it was 75 percent lower during the evening.
Morning rush hour congestion in U.S. cities remained 57 percent lower in December 2020 than December 2019 while evening traffic snarls were also down 41 percent. TomTom states that the Covid-19 pandemic could permanently change traffic patterns if society embraces a new shift in mobility and takes the path towards a safer, cleaner, congestion-free future. Increased remote working possibilities and more flexible working hours could drive the transition while eco-friendly traffic choices would cut emissions, slash reliance on fossil fuels and help protect the planet.