Pandemic reduced traffic congestion in most countries last year: Reuters report

By Stephanie Kelly and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin NEW YORK / LONDON (Reuters) – Crashes induced by the coronavirus caused annual traffic congestion to drop in most countries for the first time in at least 10 years, disrupting protracted traffic patterns such as the dreaded morning commute to work. , showed a report released Tuesday. Congestion dropped dramatically on the paralyzed highways of crowded cities, including Los Angeles, Bangalore and Mexico City in 2020, location technology company TomTom said. The pandemic is expected to affect traffic congestion again this year, said Nick Cohn, TomTom’s senior traffic expert. “We will see continued restrictions during the first half of the year, and I think we will see a lot of ups and downs before we really return to normal driving patterns and levels of traffic activity.” Cohn told Reuters in an interview. The TomTom report is based on data from 416 cities in 57 countries. It has published its traffic index for 10 years. The slowdown in congestion in the United States was longer compared to Europe last year because US coronavirus cases remained relatively high through the summer and early fall, Cohn said. In the United States, Los Angeles, New York and Miami were the most congested cities, although traffic in each city fell from 2019 levels by 36%, 30% and 26%, respectively, TomTom data showed. Overall, Moscow was the most congested city in 2020, but traffic fell 8% since 2019. Bengaluru was the world’s most congested city in 2019, but fell to sixth place in 2020 with almost a 30% drop in traffic annual- in the year. Traffic in London and Paris was almost 20% lower than in 2019, and traffic in Madrid and Rome fell 35% and 29%, respectively. Berlin experienced just a 6% traffic drop compared to 2019. Traffic patterns like the morning commute, a mainstay for decades, could change due to greater flexibility in remote work for employees, he said Cohn. “In the United States, Canada and Mexico, if we look at the peak travel patterns, the morning peak appears to have faded,” he said. “We have never seen that before.” Traffic congestion during peak hours last year decreased by 25% globally, said Stephanie Leonard, TomTom’s director of traffic policy and innovation. As more people return to the office after vaccine distributions, congestion levels could increase if commuters choose to avoid public transportation and drive to the office, said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

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