Study reveals how much time Houstonians gained back from less pandemic traffic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- During the pandemic, we've all noticed less traffic on the road, but now there are studies to show just how much remote work has changed the traffic patterns here in Houston for the better.

According to a study done by Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Houston saw 33% less traffic in 2020 than in 2019.

The congestion level dropped from 24% to 16%. That means a 30-minute trip took 24% more time in 2019, 37.5 minutes to be exact, than it would during baseline uncongested conditions.

The study also found that in 2019, Houston drivers lost 119 hours of extra travel time driving during peak hours.

You can do a lot in that amount of time, like knit five sweaters and 30 caps, according to TomTom Traffic index for 2019.

In 2020, Houstonians only lost 71 hours of travel time, which is two full days less than the year before.

Less time on the road has also been better for the environment. U.S. greenhouse gas emission from energy and industry dropped more than 10% in 2020, which is the lowest level in three decades.

With the vaccine becoming more widely available and without any big policy changes put in place, it's only a matter of time before we get back to losing hours in traffic.

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