States that are “reopening” seeing VMT gains while most others fall
Since COVID-19 and the related lockdowns have gone into effect, INRIX has used the INRIX Trip Trends tool to provide timely and accurate assessments of the impact to vehicle miles traveled (VMT). VMT, a transportation metric, is often seen as one barometer of the economic health of a city, county, region, state or country. As our past blogs have revealed, many states have been enduring the slow process of reemergence and reopening. However, as COVID cases began to spike once again, some states have paused their reopening plans or began restricting access to public places again.
- Of the 33 states with VMT declines, 16 are currently “open” or are “reopening,” nine are “paused” and eight are in the process of “reversing” openings.
- Of the 17 states with VMT gains, 12 are currently “open” or are “reopening,” three are “paused” and two are “reversing.”
In the ten states that have chosen to reverse their reopening process and close public places again, eight of them decreased in VMT. These eight states tended to have a more dramatic decrease in VMT compared to the states that did not reverse their reopening plan, with a median change among “reversing” states of -5.3%. The state that increased the most in this category was Colorado at 4.5%, while Florida had a decrease of more than nine percent.
Of the 12 states that have paused their reopening process, VMT decreased in nine, with changes ranging from a 2.8% increase in New Jersey to a 7.1% reduction in South Carolina.
In the 11 states that are continuing their reopening process without interruption, five states decreased ranging from 0.4% to 5.0%, and six increased VMT ranging from 0.5% to more than 10% in Maine.
Eleven of the states that are “open” saw VMT reductions ranging from 0.2% in Nebraska to 5.5% in Kansas, while VMT in six states increased.
 This analysis compares the change between the week of June 20-26, 2020 & July 18-24, 2020
 As referenced in “See How All 50 States Are Reopening (and Closing Again),” New York Times, updated 7/29/20, at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/states-reopen-map-coronavirus.html