Report: Vehicle Miles Traveled Almost Fully Returned to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Reports last week that the U.S. economy is about 30 percent smaller than before the pandemic aren't reflected in driving trends.

August 3, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Congestion

Ron Adar / Shutterstock

Cailin Crowe shares data from the Trip Reduction Index, created by StreetLight Data and Boston Consulting Group, to track vehicle miles traveled on U.S. roads during the pandemic. 

"The index found the national average in VMT dropped 72% from the beginning of March through April 7, but rural counties have now fully recovered to pre-COVID VMT levels while urban counties have reached 90% recovery," according to Crowe. 

"The analysis also found that the top three contributing factors to VMT reduction profiles are household income, population density and the number of professional service jobs, which all tend to be more prevalent in urban areas than rural areas."

As the coronavirus has spread, and continued to spread, around the nation, the low point in VMT was achieved on Easter Sunday (April 12). The article notes that with these dramatic changes in the driving patterns of Americans, similar new trends have emerged in bikes, transit, and other mobility services. Recent data reported by the Kinder Institute of Urban Research shows that as VMT has risen again as the pandemic has lingered into its fourth month, infection rates have also risen. While the data stops short of proving any causation, recent research has also served to allay some of the early fears of public transit as a vector for infection.

Specific VMT trends for geographic regions are also pointed out in the source article.

Friday, July 24, 2020 in Smart Cities Dive

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

LAX Cars

Car Noise Is Killing Us

It’s not just traffic collisions that kill—a new study from researcher at Rutgers finds that the loud noises emanating from cars has direct impact on heart health in Americans.

May 6, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

State Capital of Utah

Affordable Housing Proposal Faces Backlash in Salt Lake City

A public hearing last week revealed widespread opposition to a plan to loosen density and height limits and reduce parking requirements to encourage more developers to build affordable housing.

28 minutes ago - The Salt Lake Tribune

Two people on a bike trail with downtown Houston in the background

Houston Bike Summit Makes In-Person Return

The event will focus on improving bike safety and continuing maintenance on the city's growing network of bike lanes and trails.

1 hour ago - Houston Public Media

Austin Bus

Austin’s Transit CEO Moving to D.C.

After overseeing a major system redesign and plans for its largest-ever expansion, the head of Capital Metro will take over Washington, D.C.’s transit agency.

2 hours ago - KUT

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.