Coronavirus: Bay Area traffic to surge after stay at home order lifted, according to study

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ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Study: Bay Area traffic to surge after shelter in place order lifted
Imagine adding 42 minutes to your morning commute. Bay Area highways will see some of the worst congestion in the nation after the shelter in place order is lifted, according to a study.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As California reopens, you can expect to see more traffic on the roadways. But the Bay Area's transportation commission is worried we may see even worse traffic than before the coronavirus outbreak. That's because they expect fewer people will chance riding public transit.

The prediction is that the morning commute in the Bay Area will be 42 minutes longer than it was before the pandemic.

The Bay Area's traffic will be the hardest hit in the nation, New York and LA are expected to be second and third, according to a Vanderbilt University. Researchers think people will not be willing to get back onto BART or other public transportation. They also think they will skip carpool.

"Even if it was allowed, which I don't think it will be, people are going to be very hesitant into crowded public transit systems, and transit works because lots of people use it. Many of those people still need to get to work, I think the automobile will be their vehicle of choice. I likely think we are going to see some pretty congested freeways," said Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesperson Randy Rentschler.

The MTC released some numbers comparing weekday bridge traffic for a week in March this year and last year. 2020 numbers are obviously down from 2019, but they are starting to creep back up

The hope is that this study will help commuters and transportation planners with their recovery strategy.

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