The Vanishing Rush Hour Gridlock
The Disappearance of Twin Cities Traffic During the Pandemic
During the coronavirus pandemic, rush-hour traffic – and traffic congestion overall – has all but disappeared from Twin Cities roads. Highways through Minneapolis and St. Paul are more free-flowing due to stay-at-home orders and other pandemic-related government restrictions that have kept workers and students at home, eliminated large social gatherings, and cancelled concerts and sporting events.
In addition to saving money on gasoline and automobile wear and tear, Twin Cities drivers also saved a bunch of time. On average, in 2020 drivers in the Twin Cities spent an average of nine hours in traffic, down from 52 hours in 2019, according to the 2020 Global Traffic Scorecard, a report produced by INRIX, a Washington-based traffic analytics group,
The report also found that in 2020, motorists in the metro area travelled 23% fewer miles in, were able to drive at increased speeds during peak rush hours and saw accidents decline by approximately a third.
These factors all contributed to dropping the ranking of the Twin Cities Metro area on the INRIX list of cities with the most traffic congestion from 19th in 2019 to 77th in 2020.
With practically no one but essential workers driving downtown, road traffic through February was down 52 percent from the same time last year, with the biggest drop in traffic congestion occurring during peak morning commute times.
The INRIX study found that traffic congestion cost the average driver approximately $133.00 in 2020, down from $644.00 in 2019.
The study also found that the pandemic-related traffic congestion relief was limited to traditional ‘rush hour’ periods. Traffic volumes during traditional off-peak periods on weekdays and on weekends remained largely the same.
Whether this traffic congestion reprieve remains will largely depend on when (or if) employers decide to recall workers away from their homes and back to their downtown offices. Given that many employers and workers have grown accustomed to the work-from-home model, it may be some time before the regular morning commute gridlock returns and possibly one of the few positive things to emerge from the pandemic.If you find yourself facing DWI or OWI charges and need to explore your options for getting your driving privileges restored, our seasoned lawyers can help. Attorneys are available 24-7 — Call us at 612-334-3342.
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