By Christopher Hacker


As businesses shut down and many Chicagoans remain in their homes in preparation for tomorrow’s shelter in place order, city traffic levels fell dramatically this week.

According to traffic data provider TomTom, rush hour traffic congestion was just eight percent on Friday morning, leaving streets unusually quiet. Compared to the same day last year, that’s down 26 percent. The difference during evening rush hour was even more stark, down 42 percent from last year.

TomTom rates traffic congestion levels based on the amount of time drivers spend in their cars.

Traffic crashes across the city were similarly low. Chicago Police usually report between two and three hundred crashes every day in the city, but yesterday, there were just ninety five.


Chicago Car Crashes, March 1-March 19, 2020

Source: Publicly-available crash data from the Chicago Police Department


Other cities have seen even more dramatic drops in traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic. In New York City, rush hour traffic Friday morning was 40 percent lower than at that time last year; evening rush hour was down 62 percent.