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A recent study by Professor Matthew Bhagat-Conway, a faculty member in the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning, has found an interesting trend in California’s highway network—since 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic on freeways during rush-hour has notably improved.

In an interview with Courthouse News Service, Professor Bhagat-Conway, along with co-author Sam Zhang, analyzed data from 3,500 traffic sensors in California between 2016 and 2022. From this data, they determined that peak-hour automobile travel has spread out since the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to lower peak demand and better traffic overall.

These conclusions may cause planners and government agencies to reevaluate their transportation priorities and objectives.




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