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Work-From-Home Traffic Index 2020 - Post-Coronavis (COVID-19)

On March 17th, a majority of those living in the nation's most populated cities began working from home in the wake of the White House's official coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic designation. In turn, employers and employees across the nation began a new (albeit forced) work-from-home experiment in an effort to continue normal operations. With it came a glimpse at what a post-virus work-from-home scenario could look like, including potential traffic congestion level changes, as many wouldn't need to sit in traffic anymore.

Those that tout the work from home lifestyle argue that employees are more productive, communicative and empowered in their day-to-day work. While working from home can potentially deliver the same or better results while reducing overhead, not all jobs have the ability to go remote. We analyzed two weeks worth of traffic congestion across the nation's 20 most populous cities leading up to the March 17th 15-day voluntary shutdown to see what workday commuters across the nation could look forward to if work-from-home becomes more prevalent after the crisis is over.

Ranking (Most Time Saved) State Hours Saved Per Month
1 San Francisco 12.99
2 San Jose 11.73
3 Los Angeles 11.65
4 Seattle 10.46
5 New York 9.53
6 Washington 9.48
7 Austin 9.4
8 Boston 9.05
9 Houston 8.71
10 San Diego 8.7
11 Chicago 8.01
12 Philadelphia 7.83
13 Denver 6.94
14 San Antonio 6.83
15 Dallas-Fort Worth 6.53
16 Charlotte 6.32
17 Columbus 5.71
18 Jacksonville 5.7
19 Indianapolis 5.02
20 Phoenix 4.58


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## 1. San Francisco

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 12.99

San Francisco saw the overall largest drop in traffic congestion. Those commuting daily in San Francisco experience an average workday rush hour congestion level of 64%, but on March 17th, drivers saw a massive dip down to an average rush hour congestion level of 9%. Drivers on March 17th also saw a combined 30 minute time difference both ways in rush hour traffic. As one of the largest tech hubs in the world, San Francisco should be able to thrive on an improved work from home culture, which would effectively save commuters nearly 13 hours per month just from the ability to skip the bumper-to-bumper traffic shuffle.

Population: 883,305 (#15 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 58%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 69%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~13 Hours


## 2. San Jose

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 11.73

San Jose saw the second largest drop in traffic congestion. From having an average daily congestion level of 59%, on Tuesday March 17th the congestion level for the city dropped from 74% to 11% rush hour traffic congestion, saving the average commuter in rush hour traffic a combined 32 minutes both ways. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal basis, a commuter could potentially save around 11 hours and 44 minutes a month driving in rush hour traffic.

Population: 1,030,119 (#10 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 60%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 77%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~12 Hours


## 3. Los Angeles

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 11.65

As the Los Angeles saw the third most drop in traffic congestion. From having an average congestion level of 64% during rush hour traffic, on March 17th, Los Angeles saw a drop from 77% to only 21% traffic congestion. This saved the average commuter that day a combination of 32 minutes both ways in rush hour traffic. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal basis, a commuter could potentially save 11 hours and 39 minutes in rush hour traffic a month.

Population: 3,990,456 (#2 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 64%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 82%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~11.75 Hours


## 4. Seattle

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 10.46

The city surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests also saw a large drop in traffic during this epidemic. On average, the city of Seattle sees a moderate 54% congestion level during rush hour traffic. On March 17th, the city had a drop from 66% to just 13% rush hour traffic congestion. This saved the average commuter a combined 28 minutes both ways throughout rush hour traffic. If the traffic patterns were consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save around 10 hours and 28 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 744,955 (#18 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 54%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 66%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~10.5 Hours


## 5. New York

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 9.53

The city that never sleeps got a large decline in traffic congestion throughout the past couple weeks. New York City has an average traffic congestion level of 62% during rush hour traffic. On March 17th, New York City saw a 45% decrease from 63% to 18% rush hour traffic congestion. The average commuter that day saved a combined 26 minutes both ways in rush hour traffic. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 9 hours and 32 minutes per month in heavy traffic.

Population: 8,398,748 (#1 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 54%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 70%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~9.5 Hours


## 6. Washington D.C.

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 9.48

Even with politics being the center of attention this time of year, the city of washington slowed down and saw a large decrease in traffic these past two weeks. The average traffic congestion throughout the work week for Washington is 47%. On March 17th, there should have been an average congestion level 60%. However with a 49% decline in traffic congestion, this led to the average commuter seeing a combined 26 minute decrease both ways in rush hour traffic. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 9 hours and 29 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 702,455 (#20 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 47%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 61%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~9.5 Hours


## 7. Austin

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 9.4

Much like San Francisco, Austin boasts a large amount of tech-centric companies and startups, many of which can shift to a work-from-home culture and not miss a beat. Those driving in Austin understand teh The average congestion for rush hour traffic in Austin is 56%. On March 17th, Austin saw a drop of 47% from 62% making it only 15% congested during rush hour traffic. On a normal day this would save the average commuter a combined 26 minutes both ways during heavy traffic. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 9 hours and 24 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 964,254 (#11 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 45%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 68%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~10 Hours


## 8. Boston

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 9.05

The lowest populated city on our list came in at 8th for largest change in traffic congestion throughout this time period. The average daily rush hour traffic congestion for a work week in Boston is 49%. On Tuesday, March 17th, Boston saw a 45% decrease from 54% to just 9% congestion for rush hour traffic. This saved the average person a combined 26 minute both ways on their daily commute. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 9 hours and 3 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 694,583 (# In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 45%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 54%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~13 Hours


## 9. Houston

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 8.71

For the 4th most populated city in the US, Houstonians saw a lot less traffic on their highways recently. For a city that is usually congested with an average work week at 49% heavy traffic, there was quite a slow down this past tuesday. Houston came in at 9th from having a 38% decrease in traffic congestion on March 17th. Out of a possible 53% congestion level on a normal Tuesday, Houston only saw 14% during rush hour. This made for a combined 24 minute difference both ways for a commuter during rush hour. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 8 hours and 42 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 883,305 (#15 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 43%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 60%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~9 Hours


## 10. San Diego

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 8.7

Known for its beautiful outdoor scenery and 24 different beaches, the city of San Diego is slowly coming to terms with the new social distancing initiative. San Diego ranks number 10 for the 41% decline in traffic congestion throughout the city on March 17th. For a city that is normally at an average of 49% congestion throughout a work week, the low 14% congestion on tuesday shrank the commute times for a person down to a combined 24 minutes both ways. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 8 hours and 42 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 883,305 (#15 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 46%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 60%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~9 Hours


## 11. Chicago

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 8.01

Since the infamous St. Patrick's Day Parade got shut down due to the Coronavirus, Chicago has seen a slow decline in tourists and commuting residents. Throughout the work week Chicago sees an average 49% congestion during rush hour traffic, however this week, Chicago saw a low 12% in traffic congestion during rush hour on March 17th. This is down 36% from the average traffic congestion for a normal tuesday. This reduction in congestion saved commuters a combined 22 minutes both ways in rush hour traffic. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save around 8 hours and 1 minute per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 883,305 (#15 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 41%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 58%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~8 Hours


## 12. Philadelphia

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 7.83

Although not the most congested city on an average day, Pennsylavnia’s largest city is ranked number twelve for its 7% congestion level on March 17th. All the way down from almost 21% congestion on an average Tuesday, residents of Philadelphia likely saw a combined 22 minute difference both ways driving in during rush hour traffic. This is a sizable difference from the average work week congestion in Philadelphia being 45% .If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save around 7 hours and 50 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 883,305 (#15 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 38%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 53%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~8 Hours


## 13. Denver

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 6.94

After Colorado shut down every famous ski resort, the tourism and commuting residents started to decline as well. The average daily rush hour traffic congestion for a work week in Denver is almost 43%. On Tuesday, March 17th, Denver saw a 34% decrease from 46% to 12% rush hour traffic congestion. This saved the average commuter a combined 21 minutes both ways in what was supposed to be rush hour traffic. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save around 6 hours and 56 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 716,492 (#19 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 38%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 51%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~7 Hours


## 14. San Antonio

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 6.83

For a town that is known for having 31 million visitors each year, traffic is seeming to ease up as many guests stay home this March. The average daily rush hour traffic congestion for a work week in San Antonio is 40%. On March 17th, San Antonio saw an average 30% decline from 43% to 13% rush hour traffic congestion. Each commuter that day should have seen a decline of 19 minutes for a combined both ways during their rush hour commute. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 6 hours and 50 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 1,532,233 (#7 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 37%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 53%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~7 Hours


## 15. Dallas-Fort Worth

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 6.53

The large metroplex of Dallas to Fort Worth is having to slow down business as many are told to work from home. The average daily rush hour traffic congestion for a work week in Dallas-Fort Worth is 40%. On Tuesday, March 17th, the metroplex saw a 32% decrease from 42% to just 10% congestion for rush hour traffic. This saved the average commuter a combined 18 minutes both ways during rush hour traffic. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 6 hours and 32 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 2,240,055 [Combined] (Dallas Ranks #9 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 34%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 48%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~6.5 Hours


## 16. Charlotte

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 6.32

The largest city in North Carolina comes in at 16th for its 33% decline in congested roadways on Tuesday March 17th. Charlotte normally has an average weekly traffic congestion of 43% during rush hour. This Tuesday we saw what was supposed to be a 48% traffic congestion day go down to 15%. This saved the average commuter a combined 26 minutes both ways during rush hour. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 6 hours and 19 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 872,498 (#16 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 33%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 54%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~6.5 Hours


## 17. Columbus

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 5.71

The average daily rush hour traffic congestion for a work week in Columbus is 33%. On Tuesday, March 17th, Columbus saw a 27% decrease from 36% to just 9% congestion for rush hour traffic. This saved the average person a combined 16 minutes both ways on their daily commute during rush hour traffic. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter from Columbus could potentially save 5 hours and 43 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 892,533 (#14 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 25%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 43%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~6 Hours


## 18. Jacksonville

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 5.7

As the largest city in Florida by size and population, Jacksonville has it. After the initial outbreak of Coronavirus making its way to the US, Jacksonville was one of the few cities that gradually started to decline in heavy traffic. From March 10th to the 17th, there was only a decrease of 15% traffic congestion throughout the city during rush hour. The average daily rush hour traffic congestion for a work week in Jacksonville is 36%. On Tuesday, March 17th, Jacksonville saw a 27% decrease from 40% to just 13% congestion for rush hour traffic. This saved the average person commuting in Jacksonville during rush hour a combined 16 minutes both ways. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 5 hours and 42 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 903,889 (#15 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 32%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 43%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~6 Hours


## 19. Indianapolis

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 5.02

Indianapolis is slowly coming to terms with the effect of the virus and is just now starting to see a decline in traffic congestion. With the city being higher than the average traffic congestion by 3% on March 12th, Indianapolis slowly declined to a mere 7% traffic congestion on March 17th. The average daily rush hour traffic congestion for a work week in Indianapolis is 29%. On Tuesday, March 17th, Indianapolis saw a 24% decrease from 31% to just 7% congestion for rush hour traffic. This saved the commuter a combined 14 minutes both ways on their daily commute. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 5 hours and 1 minute per month in rush hour traffic. Indianapolis continues to maintain a lower-than-average congestion level as the nation continues to try and reduce the spread of the virus.

Population: 867,125 (#17 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 22%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 37%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~5 Hours


## 20. Phoenix

Potential Time Saved Per Month: 4.58

With Phoenix coming in at number 20, people are slowly starting to adapt to the precautionary measures for the Coronavirus. The average daily rush hour traffic congestion for a work week in Phoenix is 32%. Throughout the week of March 17th, Phoenix was continually nearing 32% congestion levels, right until the 17th, which resulted in a drop to 16% congestion on Phoenix roads. This saved the average person a combined 12 minutes both ways on their daily commute. If traffic patterns were to stay consistent with people working from home on a normal schedule, a commuter could potentially save 4 hours and 35 minutes per month in rush hour traffic.

Population: 1,660,272 (#5 In United States)
Average Workday Morning Rush Hour Congestion Level: 35%
Average Workday Evening Rush Hour Congestion Level: 39%
Potential Monthly Time Savings: ~5 Hours


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Methodology

We compared the average high and low rush hour traffic congestion levels for the top 20 most populous US cities over a period of 14 days leading into the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic using TomTom's historical traffic data. We chose March 17th commute times as it coincides with President Trump’s press conference in which he first announced the 15-day self-quarantine measures, which created a major traffic shift for the following days as many Americans stayed home all-together. By comparing the lowest day recorded during the COVID-19 crisis while most businesses were still operational and/or considering work-from-home measures, we were able to get an idea of what traffic levels would be like for commutes in a post-virus world. Rush hour periods in our study are defined as 8am (morning) and 5pm (evening). The time savings are calculated by taking an average daily rush hour commute time by city, multiplying it by the average number of working days in the year (261 days), and then dividing that figure by 12 to get a monthly time savings figure.


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