WASHINGTON (WDVM) — We continue to hear how the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been significant in the Metro-Washington area, and now we’re able to see it by the numbers. A new report from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Transportation Planning Board compares 2020 to 2019, showcasing a clearer look at region-wide economic downfalls.
In April of 2020, traffic volumes fell by an unbelievable 50.5%, and although volumes slowly began to increase, they’re still in the negatives. As for public transit, ridership declined significantly, but some of it may be attributed to service availability and the new social distancing requirement on buses.
“Decreases in public transportation, while very much caused by decreases in demand, are also in part a function of decreases in service capacity or service operations,” said Timothy Canan, TPB Planning Data and Research Program Director.
With public transit service cuts comes job losses for those who cannot work from home, specifically jobs in the food, hospitality and leisure industries.
“The hardest hit sectors in our economy was leisure and hospitality. From November 2019 to November 2020, significant losses were occurred in all sectors in the region,” state Canan.
Air travel at the three Metro-Washington airports is beginning to increase after taking a major hit in the late spring.
“Air travel, there’s no surprise here. This slide compares 2019 levels in the blue line to 202 levels which is in the orange line. We have seen a recovery since then, somewhat, but at far lower levels then what we experienced in 2019,” said Canan.
On a positive note, less cars, trains and buses on the roads has allowed for better air quality in the region. The decrease of ozone and PM2.5 helped improve our air quality in 2020.
“We’ve had far more healthier days in 2020, compared to 2019,” stated Canan.
To read the full report, click here.