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Traffic and pollution plummet as U.S. cities shut down for Coronavirus


Major cities across the United States are experiencing decreases in traffic and, subsequently, decreases in air pollution due to self-isolation mandates in various areas.

  • Nitrogen dioxide emissions have dropped dramatically and traffic jams have virtually stopped in Los Angeles. Traffic was reportedly moving 71 percent faster than usual during the typical rush hour time frame
  • The Bay Area ordered 6.7 million residents to shelter in place which has cut traffic on the Bay Bridge roughly 40% compared with two weeks ago
  • Similar results were seen in the Seattle area, where downtown morning traffic declined by 40% and traffic on weekends has plummeted as well
  • In New York City, residents are less dependent on car travel than in other metro areas, but vehicle traffic has still seen a steep drop-off as office buildings, schools and restaurants have closed
  • Researchers at Columbia University have seen emissions of carbon monoxide over New York City decline more than 50 percent below typical levels over the past week
  • While the decrease in emissions is good news for the climate, it’s likely temporary and there are better ways to reduce emissions that don’t overload the health care system and cause unemployment

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign includes solutions in clean mobility that will reduce emissions over the long term. Endorse our Climate-Safe California platform here.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/22/climate/coronavirus-usa-traffic.html?