- Highway travel speeds in major metropolitan areas are up as much as 60%, as personal vehicle miles traveled (VMT) shrink due to stay-at-home orders, an INRIX report found.
- "Freight-heavy corridors in urban areas have seen dramatic travel speed increases, reducing barriers to move goods faster," the report stated. Even so, freight movement is down 13% against a March 14 baseline, when no stay-at-home orders were in place.
- New York City saw travel speeds rise 32% for morning rush hour and 40% for the evening. On I-405 in Los Angeles through Sepulveda Pass, travel time before COVID-19 shutdown orders averaged nearly two hours during evening rush hour. Post shutdown, average travel time is 40 minutes.
Personal VMT is down in all states, 46% on average and as much as 62% in states in the Northeast, leaving interstates open for essential workers and essential goods transport.
Transportation researchers and analysts have observed bottlenecks loosening since March, after stay at home orders went into effect in many states. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found trucks were traveling through typically congested interchanges at more than double their usual speed (though still below the legal speed limit).
Fleets crossing the U.S.-Mexico border have reported less congestion and faster travel times, Deepak Chhugani, founder and CEO of Nuvocargo, a freight forwarder for U.S.-Mexico cross-border trade, told Transport Dive.
"After March 20, we saw an immediate 15% reduction in traffic at the Laredo, Texas, crossing," he said. March 20 was the date the U.S. and Mexico agreed to restrict non-essential travel at the border.
And with widespread shutdowns continuing in both nations, Laredo crossings largely remain clearer than usual. Real-time data from FourKites Monday morning showed average or below average travel times for Mexico to U.S. crossings at all brides in Laredo. Only U.S. to Mexico crossings at the Laredo World Trade Bridge faced delays.
Still, it's not completely smooth sailing for fleets. Dwell times, late loads and re-entry delays have increased during the coronavirus pandemic, in part because of high demand for consumer goods stressing the supply chain.