Apr 8, 2020 - Economy & Business

Driving hits red light during coronavirus lockdowns

An empty street

A woman waits for a bus on a nearly empty street in downtown Chicago on March 21. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images.

It’s not just mass transit: Car travel has also declined sharply amid the coronavirus lockdown.

By the numbers: Almost every major U.S. city last month saw a steep reduction in the number of miles traveled by car, compared to a benchmark in January, according to StreetsBlog.

  • Los Angeles: ⬇️ 70%
  • San Francisco: ⬇️ 83%
  • Chicago: ⬇️ 67%
  • Boston: ⬇️ 75%
  • New York: ⬇️ 67%
  • Washington, D.C.: ⬇️ 77%

Between the lines: D.C. and New York saw bigger drops earlier in March than many other cities.

Yes, but: Some parts of the country, particularly in the southeast, haven’t seen as big a drop. The number of miles traveled in Jacksonville, Florida, for example, is down by a comparatively small 46%.

The bottom line: When most of the country is being told to stay home, sure, you’d expect to see a lot less travel in all of its forms. But this is still encouraging data to suggest that most of us really are staying home, at least more often.

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