Pandemic Silver Lining in Los Angeles: No Longer City with Worst Traffic

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Texas A&M Transportation Institute issued a report on traffic congestion in urban areas and found that while the coronavirus pandemic caused a temporary reduction of vehicles on the road, it is already back to pre-virus levels. In Los Angeles, however, it appears to have caused a more lasting impact, as the City of Angels is no longer the city with the worst traffic in the United States.

L.A. now ranks sixth behind–in order from one to five–New York City, Newark, New Jersey, Boston, and Houston.

Rounding out the top ten, in order, are San Francisco; Washington, DC; Dallas-Fort Worth; and Chicago.
The New York Post covered the report, which highlighted a wide range of issues dealing with urban mobility over the decades:

U.S. metro areas were ranked by how many total hours drivers were delayed over the course of 2020. New York City/Newark drivers were delayed 56 hours, followed by Boston (50), Houston (49), and the two California regions (both 46), the study, titled the 2021 Urban Mobility Report, said.

The LA area had been regarded as the nation’s worst for roadway-clogging traffic for the past three decades, the institute reported, according to USA Today.

But California’s coronavirusrelated stay-at-home orders, companies pitching in with more flexible work schedules and the LA area’s generally reliable internet connections helped keep workers at home and off the freeways, report co-author David Schrank said in a statement, according to the newspaper.

The report also shows that truckers continued to hit America’s roads as usual as this group of drivers planned a significant role in delivering needed goods during the pandemic.

The temporary lull in typical rush hour traffic in U.S. cities started to pick up again last September, and with California finally reopening, Los Angeles could regain its notoriety for bad traffic by the time a report for 2021 is released.

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