For anyone who had a moderate to long commute to work this is possibly the best news to come out of the worldwide virus response. This is not a commentary on the virus and we are not inviting a discussion of the worldwide response to the virus. This is a discussion of the impacts to traffic and prediction on what the future holds for vehicles and miles driven.

Impact to miles driven.

The early days of the COVID pandemic brought an unprecedented decline in driving in the U.S., with vehicle miles traveled down 41% from February to April on a seasonally adjusted basis. By July, the most recent month for which the Federal Highway Administration has released data, vehicle miles were still down 13% (seasonally adjusted) from February.

Driving will surely creep closer to its pre-pandemic level as Americans return to their offices this year and next. But it may never quite get there. A study this summer by accounting and consulting firm KPMG forecast those vehicle miles traveled will settle at about 90% of pre-2020 levels in the coming years. On a per-capita basis, they were down 5% from their all-time high in the mid-2000s even before the pandemic. Driving in the U.S. would seem to have peaked.

The reasons for this decline are straightforward. More and more people have been doing their jobs from home—and getting their entertainment and buying things there as well. These trends, which began with the arrival of widespread broadband internet access in the early 2000s, had been gaining strength in recent years. The pandemic has accelerated them.

VIA Bloomberg

Less traffic is better for those of us that enjoy driving.

Fewer cars more dirt.

The group of us that enjoy cars because of the car and how we feel driving our favorite road or off-road this is great news.

It’s a little underwhelming to think it’s only a 10% predicted drop give at one point we were down 40% and at least locally it seems like we are back to pre-COVID traffic.

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William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role. He also wields a freely shared...

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