Traffic up in Triangle, but not back to pre-pandemic levels, NCDOT says

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Traffic is slowly creeping back up in the Triangle as more businesses re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said traffic levels have increased compared to April, around the start of the pandemic, but that they still aren't back to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Traffic is down 20 percent in the Triangle and 10 percent statewide, said Marty Homan, of NCDOT.

"We're seeing, you know, a lot of companies are having employees work from home where they're staggering start and stop times and that sort of thing, and so that's really easing congestion levels," Homan said. "So the main arteries, 40, 440, and 540 are, are getting back to where they were, but they're still not quite where they were before COVID."

Our ABC11 data team pulled anonymized mobility data from Google.

It shows that in Wake County:
  • People are still traveling to work much less often, though this has increased slightly since April and May.
  • People have been traveling to retail and recreation locations more often since June, but not quite as often as they did in January and February.
  • People have been traveling to grocery stores and pharmacies about as often as they did in January and February. This travel has increased since March-May, during the stay-at-home order.

North Carolina follows similar trends to Wake County, but people are traveling more often on average across the state than in Wake County.

If you're hoping for roads to stay lighter, you might want to think again.

"The area is growing, and I don't think it's going to stop growing just because of COVID," Homan said. "So it may not come back at the base or as quickly as it might have but we're still going to see congestion, and we're planning for that as the area continues to grow."
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