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COVID-19 and Traffic Congestion

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 15 April May 10 2020

September 2020

The Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization based in Washington, DC, has analysed the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on traffic congestion in the US. In an article by Adie Tomer and Lara Fishbane, they show the stunningly steep dive that traffic took in comparison to the more gradual decrease in the 2008 economic crisis. Every metropolitan area in the USA experienced a traffic decline of at least 53% since the beginning of March.

To understand why driving fell across the country—and to help predict why and where driving may increase – they ran a regression to control for several distinct metropolitan variables. This showed that reduction in driving correlated with *) Metropolitan authorities issuing stay-at-home policies, *) employment in knowledge-intensive industries, and *) Democratic voting patterns.

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