Traffic Heading Into NYC Returns With a Vengeance

Traffic Heading Into NYC Returns With a Vengeance

By Yehudit Garmaise

Some New Yorkers might be leaving the city, but many are also entering: whether to visit or stay.

With the rare exceptions of decreased traffic in times of recession, wars, and the pandemic, crossings into the city’s bridges and tunnels have climbed steadily since the first tolls in 1937, which marked 19 million cars entering NYC.

In 2023, the 335 million drivers who entered New York City through tolled bridges and tunnels created an all-time high, according to the MTA. In addition to more people hitting the roads than in the past three years, cashless tolling, attributed to fewer collisions, has also increased daily traffic by 7%.

After the roads in New York City briefly emptied out in 2020, by the summer of 2021, the MTA started counting daily traffic counts that exceeded the numbers seen before the pandemic.

While traffic in New York City has returned even stronger since the end of the pandemic, public transportation ridership has not yet fully recovered.

The number of New Yorkers heading to the subway and buses has returned to approximately only three-quarters of pre-pandemic levels according to the MTA.

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