Pandemic cut traffic congestion in most countries last year - report

By Stephanie Kelly and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Coronavirus-induced lockdowns caused annual traffic congestion to fall in most countries for the first time in at least 10 years, disrupting long-held traffic patterns like the dreaded morning commute to work, a report released on Tuesday showed.

Reuters January 13, 2021 05:10:43 IST
Pandemic cut traffic congestion in most countries last year - report

Pandemic cut traffic congestion in most countries last year  report

By Stephanie Kelly and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - coronavirus -induced lockdowns caused annual traffic congestion to fall in most countries for the first time in at least 10 years, disrupting long-held traffic patterns like the dreaded morning commute to work, a report released on Tuesday showed.

Congestion declined sharply on the gridlocked roads of crowded cities, including Los Angeles, Bengaluru and Mexico City in 2020, location technology company TomTom said. The pandemic is expected to weigh again on traffic congestion this year, said Nick Cohn, TomTom's senior traffic expert.

"We're going to see continued restrictions through the first half of the year, and I think we're going to see a lot of ups and downs before we're really getting back to any normal driving patterns and traffic activity levels," Cohn told Reuters in an interview.

TomTom's report is based on data from 416 cities in 57 countries. It has published its traffic index for 10 years.

The downturn in congestion in the United States was more prolonged compared with Europe last year because U.S. coronavirus cases stayed relatively high during the summer and early fall, Cohn said.

In the United States, Los Angeles, New York and Miami were the most congested cities, though traffic in each city dropped 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% from 2019. Bengaluru was the most-congested city in the world in 2019, but it fell to sixth in 2020 with nearly a 30% of drop in traffic year-on-year.

Traffic in London and Paris was almost 20% lower than in 2019, and traffic in Madrid and Rome dropped 35% and 29%, respectively. Berlin experienced only a 6% traffic fall compared with 2019.

Traffic patterns like the daily morning commute to work - a mainstay for decades - could shift because of increased flexibility around remote work for employees, Cohn said.

"In the U.S., Canada and Mexico, if you look at peak travel patterns, the morning peak seems to have melted away," he said. "We have never seen that before."

Traffic congestion during rush hours last year decreased by 25% globally, said Stephanie Leonard, TomTom's head of traffic innovation and policy.

As more people return to office following vaccine distributions, congestion levels could rise if commuters choose to avoid public transit and drive to office instead, said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York and Bozorgmehr Sharafed in London; Editing by Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Trump disavows any responsibility for his supporters' Jan. 6 attack
World

Trump disavows any responsibility for his supporters' Jan. 6 attack

By Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, facing impeachment on a charge of "incitement of insurrection" on Tuesday disavowed responsibility for his supporters' violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol last week and said his remarks before the siege were appropriate.

Renault and Plug Power to develop fuel-cell commerical vehicles
News & Analysis

Renault and Plug Power to develop fuel-cell commerical vehicles

PARIS (Reuters) - French carmaker Renault and U.S. hydrogen specialist Plug Power have joined forces to develop hydrogen-powered light commercial vehicles, they said on Tuesday. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to launch a France-based 50-50 joint venture by the end of the first half of 2021, targeting more than 30% share of the fuel cell-powered light commercial vehicle market in Europe, their joint statement said

Analysis: Tesla's Model Y to emerge disruptor as China EV sales zoom in 2021
News & Analysis

Analysis: Tesla's Model Y to emerge disruptor as China EV sales zoom in 2021

By Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - New models will help electric vehicle sales in China zoom this year, after tepid business in a virus-riddled 2020, and analysts predict Tesla's Model Y pricing will emerge as a major disruptor in the world's biggest car market. Tesla Inc, which became the world's most valuable car maker last year, started selling locally made Model Y SUVs in China this month, for almost a tenth less than gasoline-powered luxury cars with similar market positioning. It set the starting price at 339,900 yuan ($52,376), or 10% below official prices of Daimler's Mercedes GLC, BMW's X3 and Audi's Q5L - all locally made gasoline sport utility vehicles (SUVs) with similar size and positioning.