Downtown Travel Has Not Recovered from COVID-19, Data Shows

Downtown activity in major cities continues to lag behind pre-COVID-19 days, perhaps the most lasting side effect of remote work.

A study of near real-time traffic activity in downtown areas indicates that most of the largest U.S. cities have yet to return to pre-2020 levels. The report and analysis, which looked at 20 downtown districts, was conducted by INRIX, a traffic and transportation technology firm…

One of the report’s data points looks at traffic activity from December 2022 to May 2023, offering the most recent window into downtown recovery. Portland, Ore., posted a 12 percent increase in trips into downtown, while New York City showed a 13 percent increase, and a 15 percent increase in Phoenix. However, many cities are either stagnant, or backsliding. Trips into Chicago and Seattle are both down one percent during this period. Washington, D.C., posted a two percent decline and Denver showed a four percent decline.