Americans may be rounding a corner — literally — in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of daily passenger vehicle trips has hit a major milestone, reaching pre-pandemic levels for the first time in a year, according to data provided to The Associated Press by the transportation analytics firm Inrix, with Americans driving more often and farther than at any time since pandemic lockdowns were invoked.
The rise in vehicle travel comes amid other encouraging health and economic indicators. Consumer spending and manufacturing have been picking up. Employers have been adding workers. Governors have been easing restrictions on indoor dining and social gatherings. More auto fuel is being purchased. The winter peak in COVID-19 cases has receded. And more than one-fourth of Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Some of the largest travel increases have occurred in rural, suburban and smaller metropolitan areas, Inrix transportation analyst Bob Pishue said.