Aug 11, 2023 - Economy

Taylor Swift's Eras tour is snarling traffic nationwide

Traffic delays due to Eras concerts
Data: StreetLight Data; Note: Analysis includes traffic 5-6 p.m. on roadways within one mile of each venue. Vehicle hours of delay measured as time spent in congestion compared to free-flow travel time; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Good luck getting around swiftly if the Eras tour is in town.

The big picture: Vehicle hours of delay (VHD) — a measurement of how long cars spend in traffic compared to the time the same trip would take on open roads — "more than doubled at 7 out of 9 stadiums during the Eras Tour concerts," per StreetLight.

Zoom in: Traffic delays within a mile of State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, rose 315% on average during Swift's mid-March shows there.

  • And delays were up 288% on average in Arlington, Texas, near AT&T Stadium during her late March and early April performances.
  • Ahead of Swift's Arlington show on April 2, nearby delays were up a staggering 847%.

Yes, but: Traffic delays near MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, actually decreased during Swift's late May shows there, dropping from 1,457 VHD to 1,187 — about 19%.

  • That's because local transit officials discouraged driving and boosted public transit service to and from the Meadowlands to better handle the glut of concertgoers. (To be fair, MetLife is fairly well-served by existing public transit.)

Why it matters: None of this is meant to blame Swift for bad traffic — you'd probably see similar numbers for any big event at these stadiums.

  • Rather, it's a compelling illustration of traffic and transit issues in the given cities.

The bottom line: Cities should look to East Rutherford as an example of how to handle massive events without clogging the roadways.

  • "As the data shows, investing in transit and other traffic mitigation strategies enabled major improvements," per StreetLight.
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