Seattle Traffic "Does Not Exist" Amid Virus Fears

Illustration for article titled Seattle Traffic Does Not Exist Amid Virus Fears
Image: Domas Mituzas (Flickr)

If you’re looking for a stress-free drive on Seattle interstates, now is the time to jump in your car, activate bioweapon defense mode, and cruise around at your leisure, ‘cause ain’t nobody on the road.

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Health officials have suggested people in the Seattle area work from home in order to reduce the chances of transmitting COVID-19. As employers like Amazon and Microsoft tell workers to telecommute, the normally slow-moving highways around Seattle are relatively empty.

“Seattle is literally a ghost town,” Microsoft employee Alina Nadoyan told ABC, “traffic does not exist.”

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Amazon had an employee test positive, and a Facebook contractor has been diagnosed with COVID-19 prompting the company to shut down its Seattle offices temporarily. The Seattle area is home to the U.S.’s biggest concentration of coronavirus cases.

Travel times are down around the city and average speeds were up measurably all week, especially increasing towards the end of the week as more companies tell more employees to stay home.

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The sudden and significant increase in remote working could help push more companies to adopt it as a normal policy. This could help alleviate traffic and reduce housing prices more broadly. But don’t get too excited; if you can do your job from the suburbs, somebody else can probably do it from much farther away.

Matt Brown is an automotive engineer, writer, and builder of unconventional things. Mostly vehicles.

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DISCUSSION

stefschrader
Stef Schrader

I was about to say...why not make “work from home if you want to, unless you absolutely have to come in” an option all the time?

I admit that I’d love to move back into an office job since the isolation of working from home sucks big ol’ floppy donkey balls, but if someone thrives in that environment, has a job they need peace and quiet to do, has the damn sniffles and is Patient Zero for this month’s round of (less serious) crud, or simply doesn’t want to come in for whatever reason...why not? The effect on traffic is pretty great.