Social distancing mandates across the world due to the COVID-19 outbreak are leaving big city roadways eerily bare during normally-treacherous morning and evening commutes.
New data from INRIX, the Kirkland, Wash.-based traffic data and analytics company, show average travel speeds increasing by 35% in Los Angeles and 30% in Chicago during today’s Monday morning rush hour.
Both cities announced new bans on restaurants and bars this weekend, in addition to existing school closures and work-from-home mandates set by companies to help slow the COVID-19 outbreak.
Trevor Reed, INRIX transportation analyst, said “the improvements in travel speed closely parallel the dramatic actions taken over the weekend to curtail its spread.”
— GeekWire (@geekwire) March 16, 2020
You know shit’s getting serious when it’s 9am on a Monday and LA traffic looks like this pic.twitter.com/PFqr98RXQZ
— Paradise Papi ???? (@zeeluis) March 16, 2020
Other cities seeing similar spikes in travel speeds include St. Louis (28%); Boston (25%); Miami (25%); Seattle (24%); and San Francisco (22%). Seattle was the first U.S. epicenter for the novel coronavirus and its traffic began to lighten earlier this month.
Rome (25%) and Milan (23%) also saw increases as Italy battles one of the worst outbreaks worldwide. European cities such as London and Munich did not see as significant of changes on the roads, according to INRIX.
“The UK government’s slower response is reflected in marginal travel speeds changes, while Germany’s similarly delayed response appears in minor increases, too,” Reed said. “As borders close and social distancing measure becomes more prevalent throughout both the United States and Europe, it is anticipated average travel speed increases will continue to spread and likely converge at approximately 30 percent faster than average.”
INRIX data comes predominately from car-based GPS systems and mobile data.