May 26, 2022 - News

Good luck driving in downtown Nashville

cars lined up bumper to bumper on Broadway in Nashville

Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports/USA Today Network

Trips to downtown Nashville are exceeding pre-pandemic levels, according to a new analysis of traffic patterns.

Why it matters: Somehow, traffic got worse despite the fact that many people are still working from home.

  • A report from traffic analytics firm Inrix identified Nashville as "a great example of bringing people back" to downtown areas in a "new normal" environment.

Zoom out: Researchers analyzed traffic patterns in 10 cities and found most downtown areas were still lagging behind pre-pandemic levels. Nashville was one of the few exceptions.

State of play: In 2021, trips downtown were at 60% of pre-COVID levels. By this year, traffic had exceeded those levels by 25%

  • Morning commute volume is up 3.8% in 2022. But traffic during off-hours appeared to be driving much of the surge.

What they're saying: "Downtown Nashville, which has seen increasing traffic volumes during evenings and weekends, has shown that work-related trips may not be the main driver of traffic and economic activity downtown," the report stated.

Between the lines: Transportation analyst Bob Pishue, who wrote the report, tells Axios the findings suggest the entertainment and tourism activity layered alongside the business district downtown are key factors behind the numbers.

  • "That kind of environment seems to be bringing people in," he says.

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