Have you noticed that traffic is still pretty light? You aren't alone!By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Here’s another item on the growing list of things changed by the pandemic: Traffic!

From March of last year until Thanksgiving there was hardly a rush hour as we sheltered in place at home, but over the last few months, the traffic flow is coming back.

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“Now we’re about 85%, where we were pre-pandemic on our interstates,” says PennDOT Dist. 11 Traffic Engineer Todd Kravits, “And we’re seeing just about 90% on our traffic routes or our routes like 50 and 28, things of that nature. So we’re seeing that traffic volume beginning to rise.”

But if you’re driving in the “morning rush hour” lately you might wonder where that 85% really is.

“When we’re talking about that 85% volume that’s total traffic volume through the course of the day,” says Kravits. “Times, when people are traveling now, are much different than they were pre-pandemic, with people telecommuting, some of the students still not going back to school yet, you know, more people aren’t on the roads in those early AM hours as they used to be.”

However, at the other end of the day Kravits says, “Regardless of the time period that somebody might be going into their office or their place of work, they still want to leave around that same time that they used to around the 4-5:00 timeframe.”

But in the mornings, people are apparently flexing their day later.

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“We don’t see that AM peak like we used to, you know normally at 6:00 in the morning you knew traffic was already going to be congested on our parkways, we’re not seeing that now in the morning,” he says. “We’re seeing a peak, but it’s far, far less than what it used to be.”

So when does it start to get too busy?

“We begin to see traffic volume is picking up around 10:00 timeframe, and they steadily increase throughout the day to where we hit our PM, which still isn’t as much as it used to be, but we’re still, we’re seeing that peak around the 5-6:00 timeframe.”

However, Kravits says that’s today.

“Who knows what’s going to happen, you know, a week from now or a month from now, as more restrictions are lifted, people start going back into the workplace, as vaccines roll out, you know what we’re seeing today can be totally changed in a month or so,” he said.

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In fact with so many companies realizing how efficiently their workers get the job done from home, Kravits wonders if we will ever see a return to “pre-pandemic norms.”