Today’s Pickup: Traffic speeds up in major cities as more people stay home

Traffic congestion


With more than a dozen states now
having issued stay-at-home orders, fewer people than ever are now traveling.
Inrix, which tracks traffic around the globe, has done a deep dive into the
impacts of the COVID-19 virus on commuting.

Inrix has done a series of reports
on traffic around the country, noting that traffic speeds in New York State are up 52% in the morning.

“The restrictions on movement and
corresponding decrease in congestion is clearly revealed in traffic data. On
Wednesday, March 18, traffic speeds on interstates and highways in New York
City were up to 13 mph [miles per hour] faster than normal during the morning
commute period and 14 mph faster in the afternoon,” it said.

The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is
seeing a 19 mph increase speed for northbound traffic in the afternoon, a time
during which traffic generally crawls through the major corridor. Southbound
traffic is up 32 mph in the afternoon.

Similar numbers are appearing in
other East Coast cities, with speeds in Boston 20-30 mph faster.

On the West Coast, it’s the same story. In Seattle, average speeds have increased 15 mph on average,
with speeds along Interstate 5 up 22 mph in the morning and 25 mph in the

I-5 South in Los Angeles is 25 mph
faster in the afternoon, but only 5 mph faster in the morning.

Did you know?

J.B. Hunt
Transport Services announced that it would pay a one-time $500 bonus to drivers and personnel supporting those
drivers at company and customer facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


“Fundamentals probably deteriorate
before they get better, but volumes/pricing have held up so far. A sharp
rebound could be a net tailwind, balance sheet risk is low and even bear-case
valuations have normalized, which leads us to believe that risk reward for
Freight Transportation is now balanced.”

– Morgan Stanley, on the outlook for transportation sector stocks, which the firm has raised from cautious to in-line.  

In other news:

Will the surge in cargo continue?

While freight volumes are surging
as stores rush to restock, there is concern about what will happen as the virus
subsides. (Bloomberg

Retailers cancelling orders

Fashion retailers have cancelled
$1.5 billion in orders from Bangladesh’s garment sector as sales halt. (Sourcing Journal)

GE to cut jet engine jobs

General Electric will layoff 2,500
people – about 10% of its workforce – in its jet engine business due to a
decline in demand. (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. airlines preparing for shutdown

U.S. airlines are preparing for a
total shutdown of air traffic that they view as inevitable. (The Hill)

More TSA agents test positive

The Transportation Security
Administration has announced additional agents at airports have tested positive
for COVID-19. (Fox News)

Final thoughts

One of the big fund-raisers for the
St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund is the Mid-America Trucking Show. The
cancellation of the show this year will cut into the funding and awareness of
the fund, which helps truck drivers facing financial challenges due to illness
or injury. In 2019, the fund distributed $487,000 to 344 truckers and their
families. Executive Director Donna Kennedy told FreightWaves the fund is
concerned about whether it will be able to help drivers in need, at a time when
they are most in need. If you would like to donate to the fund, visit their

Hammer down, everyone!