Traffic During the COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 has changed the world in many ways since the beginning of the outbreak – jobs have been lost, businesses have permanently closed, but one aspect of life that has also changed dramatically is daily traffic. Due to unemployment and quarantine, fewer people have been driving their vehicles on roadways of all types and you will observe that with the data presented on this page. Utilizing MassDOT’s MS2 Transportation Data Management System website, data from nine (9) permanent MassDOT locations has been extracted and organized to display the traffic data in 2019 and 2020 to compare the difference between the two years. These locations are both within and adjacent to the OCPC region to get an idea of how traffic has trended both amongst and leading to our region, using the same principal as is used with our Congestion Management Process. For this project, 2019 was used as the baseline year. Not all locations had data for every single date during that year, so data from previous years was used and calculated for 2019 based on the annual growth rate. It should be noted that the same can be said for 2020 (there are dates where data is not available), so those dates will be blank on the line graphs since there is no growth rate for 2020.
The first line graph above is a sum of daily traffic from all nine locations beginning in March to show when the decline initiated (March 13th) showing the lowest point near the end of March and then showing the steady incline in traffic as time continued. Included in the graph are vertical lines displaying when parts of Massachusetts’ reopening phases occurred. This graph will be updated at the end of every month for the distant future.
As you can see from the graphics below, January and February saw increases in overall traffic (both total monthly and average daily). The same trend was present in March up to March 13th, at which point the traffic began its decline. For the first 13 days of March, there was an 8.1% increase in Average Daily Traffic (ADT); for the remaining 18 days, there was a 42.5% decrease in ADT.
April was the hardest hit month, with an average decrease in traffic of 48.1% across all nine locations, with the greatest decrease in monthly traffic observed at the location on Interstate Route 495 in Raynham, south of Route 24 of 49.9% below April 2019 for that location. Traffic started its increase in the beginning of April and continued through the months of May and June as people started going back to work and the reopening of Massachusetts initiated. Across all locations, May experienced a 34.7% decrease in daily traffic below May 2019 and June experienced an 18.6% decrease below June 2019. Now let’s take a look at each individual location to see how each of them differed!
To view traffic counts at the nine individual locations, click on a point from the map below.