Skip to navigationSkip to content
The San Gabriel Mountains are seen from the Interstate 10 in East Los Angeles, Monday, March 30, 2020.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
This is perhaps the best time to be on the road.

Where coronavirus has changed US driving habits the most

Youyou Zhou
By Youyou Zhou

Things reporter

From our Obsession

Global Economic Disruptions

Globalization, automation, and inequality.

During the morning rush hour in Boston, traffic typically moves at 35 miles per hour (55 km per hour) on the Massachusetts Turnpike headed from the Western suburbs to offices downtown. A section of I-90, it’s one of the busiest highways in the city. In the first full week after Massachusetts declared a state of emergency, the average speed of morning commutes increased to 50 mph. A week later, it was up to 62 mph.

As officials at all levels of US government started enacting measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, the busiest highways in the US’s major metropolitan areas saw their road traffic vanish, as measured by the speed of vehicles. A Quartz analysis of data from INRIX shows it’s not just faster drive times. In some cities, commuters have drastically changed their driving patterns.

The evening rush hour was the worst time to travel in most US cities. Now, with fewer vehicles on the road, it’s one of the best.

Want a calm, rational, even curious approach to coronavirus? We’ve got an email for that.

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.