Monday, March 23, 2020

Traffic Free Cities

One outcome of Coronavirus lock-downs around the world has been a fall in NO2 pollution. This fall in air pollution has been observed both in China and Italy. One of the major reasons for this drop in NO2 levels in the world's major cities has been the reduction in car and road traffic

With people being forced to self-isolate and work from home the levels of traffic on city roads has plummeted in countries across the world. Buzzfeed has teamed up with Mapbox to create a series of interactive mapped visualizations which show this reduction in traffic in a number of American and global cities.

In These Traffic Maps Show How The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Emptied Streets Across The Globe Buzzfeed presents a series of before & after maps which show traffic levels before & after the outbreak of Covid-19. In each of the maps the before sections shows normal traffic levels, from mid-January, while the after section shows the latest traffic data ("over the most recent calendar day, local time").

The Buzzfeed article includes interactive maps of San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City in the USA. It also includes maps of Rome, Paris, London, Seoul and Beijing.

The Los Angeles Times has created a very similar before and after interactive map comparing the level of traffic in L.A. on January 16th and March 19th. The March 19th map shows L.A.'s normally congested streets looking much, much emptier. One consequence of this fall in road traffic has been a marker improvement in air quality. The Times visualizes this drop in air pollution by comparing two maps of NO2 concentration in Los Angeles County. One is from March 2019 and the other is from March 2020. As you can see above there is a quite significant drop in air pollution in L.A. this year.

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