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Coronavirus pandemic likely improved your commute to work
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Before the coronavirus upended daily life, it took transportation planner Patrick Mandapaka an hour to commute to work near downtown Houston. When the pandemic eases, he expects lighter traffic will shave 15 to 30 minutes off that drive—time he can spend with family or on his favorite walking trail instead of staring at car bumpers.
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Workers across the U.S. can look forward to similarly improved post-pandemic commutes, thanks to the anticipated staying power of the work-from-home trend, say people who study transportation.
Even after offices reopen on a large scale, many employees will likely go in only a few days a week and a large share will have flexibility to travel at off-peak times, according to recent surveys. Fewer cars on the road during rush hour would mean less traffic congestion.
“It will be as though maybe you added a lane each direction in the freeway,” said Tim Lomax, research fellow at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. “This telework phenomenon has shown people that they don’t have to be in the office all the time.”