Some Cities Saw Crazy Drops In Traffic For 2020-Some Didn’t

As you would expect the pandemic has significantly decreased traffic throughout 2020. US drivers spent 73 fewer hours in traffic for all of 2020. But that meant on average drivers still spent 26 hours in traffic for the year. In 2019 that figure was almost 100 hours believe it or not. The same was true throughout the world.

Traffic in the UK for 2019 was an astounding 115 hours

In Germany, drivers spent 26 hours stuck in traffic; the same as in the US. Lucky if you hate traffic and don’t live in the UK because even though it was down you still spent 37 hours in traffic. The time in traffic in 2019 was an astounding 115 hours. Yikes!

Traffic in Lagos | Getty

A company called Inrix compiled this data for what it calls its 2020 Global Traffic Scorecard. It tracks over 1,000 cities in 50 countries on seven continents. Inrix tracks things like travel times, miles traveled, trip characteristics, and congestion from accidents. It found that for 2020 there was a significant decline in people entering downtowns and business districts. That contributed the most to the significantly fewer hours in traffic.

New York City has the worst traffic in the US

For cities in the US, New York City has the worst traffic. There, drivers spent 100 hours in traffic in 2020. But on a good note, they saw 38% fewer accidents. The city with the biggest reduction was Washington, DC, where traffic times were down 77% from 2019. It saw 26% fewer accidents in 2020 as well.

US cities in the Top 10 worldwide for hours stuck in traffic saw New York at number three, Philadelphia at number five, Chicago at number seven, and Los Angeles was all of the way down at 37th place. Los Angeles is famous for its traffic so this ranking comes as a big surprise.

San Francisco traffic
Traffic leaves San Francisco | Getty

Sitting in Traffic is Costing Americans a Fortune

Overall, traffic accidents dropped 30% in the US, 21% in the UK, 11% in Germany, 41% in Spain, and 21% in Canada. So that was one positive to come from the pandemic. Costs per driver dropped drastically which was another positive. In the US drivers spent $1,374 in 2019 but only $394 in 2020. 

Kaneohe, Hawaii, saw its traffic times increase by 11% to 29 hours

But not all cities saw reductions. In Santa Rosa, California, traffic actually increased 4%. Sarasota, Florida, traffic went up to 29 hours which is an 11% gain. Kaneohe, Hawaii, also saw its traffic times increase by 11% to the same 29 hours. Europe saw similar increases in certain cities.

In Bucharest, Romania, the most traffic was tracked at 129 hours in 2020. It scored as the worst city for traffic in Europe. Inrix says that Bucharest didn’t even rank for traffic in 2019 so something sure changed in 2020 besides a worldwide pandemic. 

The city with the most traffic in the world was Bogota, Columbia, which also topped the 2019 survey. In 2020 people were stuck in traffic on average 133 hours. That was a reduction from 2019 of 31%. Needless to say if you’re planning a trip to Bogota, plan extra time for being stuck in traffic.