Traffic jams almost back to pre-pandemic levels


(NewsNation) — From Los Angeles to Chicago and New York, traffic jams are almost back to pre-pandemic levels.

“Now there is much more traffic anywhere you go. Like, my drive that used to be 15 minutes is now a 35-40 minute drive,” Nareda Martinez-Lopez, an L.A. commuter, said on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour.”

Traffic jams are back to being a common sight on highway 15 between L.A and Las Vegas, although it has not yet reached the the bumper-to-bumper traffic of early 2020.

“When you break it down, it’s the downtowns, the central cores of many cities, that are actually much lower from a car traffic perspective than pre-pandemic. It’s the outskirts, the suburbs where we all live that it’s higher,” Martin Morzynski of Street Light Data said to “Rush Hour.”

According to a new study, traffic in major cities is still down by about 27% compared to pre-pandemic levels. The cities who are seeing the biggest rebounds are: San Diego, Phoenix, Houston, Los Angeles and New York.

“Many downtown areas of course have large office buildings, and so you do have people who are returning back to the workplace, getting back into the office and so that’s why you may see you know traffic congestion picking up in many major metro areas across the country,” Doug Shupee of AAA said on “Rush Hour.”

A controversial plan to ease traffic in New York is by introducing congestion pricing in Manhattan. This means everything south of Central Park could be tolled up to $23.

Traffic experts say more flexible schedules would help overall, since only half of Americans work in major cities.

“I think if we’re smart about that and give people less reason to be downtown and try to find ways to avoid people being on the road at the same time, that would be a way of coming back better,” Morzynski said.

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