Feb 10, 2022 - News

Tampa traffic jumps as pandemic shifts driving habits

Data: TomTom Traffic Index 2021; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios
Data: TomTom Traffic Index 2021; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Tampa drivers spent an average of 48 hours in traffic in 2021, according to new data from the TomTom Traffic Index. We're tied with Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, and, strangely …

  • The Cape-Coral-Fort Myers area, which is far less populated.

Yes, but: We're spending significantly less time in rush hour traffic, as traffic density has become more spread out throughout the day.

  • Tampa drivers lost 3 days and 4 hours of their lives in rush hour last year.
  • But that's 1 day 9 hours less than in 2019.

Why it matters: City planners are constantly looking for ways to reduce traffic congestion because it means wasted time, harmful emissions and negative economic impacts for cities.

Between the lines: According to TomTom's data, congestion in Tampa was up 17% in 2021 versus 2020, but down compared to 2019.

Of note: The pandemic upended our driving habits as people opted more for private transport, TomTom points out.

  • Plus, the uptick in online shopping has meant more delivery drivers on the road.

The big picture: Compared to 404 cities in 58 countries on six continents, Tampa ranks 201st in congestion.

Ben's thought bubble: I filed this story late because it took me 35 minutes to drive from Armenia and Columbus to northern Seminole Heights β€” just five miles β€” at rush-hour yesterday.

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