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Posted on: September 22, 2020

MRMPO Releases Updated Findings on Traffic Patterns Related to COVID-19 Impacts

COVID Traffic Counts-HeatMap_DayPercChange_AGOL_WithRds(Albuquerque – September 22, 2020) - Traffic in the metro area has dropped significantly as a result of the current COVID-19 Pandemic, according to the Mid-Region Council of Governments, which manages the Traffic Monitoring Program for Albuquerque and the surrounding areas in the central region.

“Our Traffic Monitoring Program helps us better understand how demand is being affected by things like the current pandemic”, said Nathan Masek, MRCOG Senior Transportation Planner II, AICP. “Approximately 155 locations within the metro area were identified for the specific purpose of providing a mechanism to assess regional impacts on roadway volumes and to gauge the timing of a return to a “New Normal”.

Counts began the week of March 23rd, and since then, all locations have been counted at least two times, thus providing an early assessment of the trend since COVID.

Monitoring will continue until it is believed that a “New Normal” of traffic volume stabilization has been achieved. Conditions present a challenge for public officials as they strive to provide adequate public services and resource management.

Key Findings:

Cycle 1 (March 23 to May 28th)

Overall traffic within the metro area dropped 32.5%. Most notable was the variation by district, which shows a wide range of impacts for different areas within the region – with a range of reductions of 48.1% to 17.6% from 2019.

COVID Traffic Counts-Cycle 1 District Changes Histogram

Cycle 2 (June 8 to Aug 20)

Overall traffic within the metro area began to return to pre-Covid levels, however there was still a reduction of 16.6% from 2019. Variation by district remained, however with a range of reductions of 34.2% to 2.2% from 2019.

COVID Traffic Counts-Cycle 2 District Changes Histogram

See above Histogram graphics with district-by-district comparisons of Pre-COVID, Cycle 1, and Cycle 2 volume/reductions. It can be assumed that many of the work trips were likely replaced by people working at home. 

This information can be used in local policy decisions on such critical areas as land-use type and mix of jobs/housing, alternative mode options, roadway operations and infrastructure, as well as broadband communications that support effective work-from-home strategies. Cycle 3 data collection began August 24th.

Contact: Augusta Meyers, MRCOG Communications Mgr., (505) 239-8612, ameyers@mrcog-nm.gov

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