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Twin Cities rush hour more unpredictable than it was pre-pandemic

Twin Cities rush hour more unpredictable than it was pre-pandemic
Twin Cities rush hour more unpredictable than it was pre-pandemic 02:58

MINNEAPOLIS -- The pandemic changed just about everything in our lives, including traffic.

Marie from Little Canada wanted to know, "when is the actual rush hour these days?" Good Question. 

As WCCO's Kirsten Mitchell found out, times have changed on the road, in more ways than one. 

Whether your commute is smooth sailing or comes to a screeching halt, it seems like it is business as usual on the roads these days compared to the empty highways of the pandemic.

"If you drove in the Twin Cities before the pandemic, congestion you are experiencing today is still not as bad as it was prior to 2020," said Jake Loesch with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Loesch says that's because where and when people work has changed.

Rush hour is still considered to be 6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m. but the amount of congestion is more unpredictable now.

"People are just traveling more spread out throughout the day," Loesch said.

Despite less traffic during the pandemic, deaths on Minnesota roads increased -- almost 100 more people were killed in 2021 than in 2020. Speeding and impairment were the leading causes.

"For MnDOT and all of our local law enforcement partners, everything we can to redouble those efforts to get more people driving at safe speeds, slow down, pay attention and travel safely on the highways," Loesch said.

As for public transportation, Tuesdays are the busiest days of the week.

"The afternoon peak has moved up earlier in the day so people are heading home at three o'clock where they would have headed home at four o'clock before," said Drew Kerr, a spokesperson for Metro Transit.

On commuter or express routes, Tuesdays are almost twice as busy as Fridays.

"Friday we don't see as many people as we'd like to, and we understand. It's the weekend," Kerr said.

Metro Transit's D Line from Brooklyn Center to Mall of America is the busiest.

Still, overall ridership is only about half of what it was pre-pandemic.

"We are on our way back," Kerr said. "We have a ways to go. We may not get there right away, but we are growing in ridership and that's really encouraging."

So, however you commute, prepare for some company.

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