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Air travel levels back within 90 percent prepandemic, highway traffic at 99 percent

DES MOINES — Travel levels for planes and automobiles have all bounced back this summer as things opened back up from pandemic shutdowns.

The Department of Transportation’s Stuart Anderson gave an update to the Transportation Commission last week — including air traffic. “It’s been a relatively steep line of growth and counts….in July we were pretty darn close to the July of 2019 pre-pandemic levels. So I think pretty consistently now we are around 90 percent,” Anderson says.

That holds true as well for the number of passengers flying. “Passenger count recovery has actually happened a little quicker than has been estimated — even just a few months ago,” according to Anderson. “I think what they are seeing is that is primarily leisure and vacation travel. Business travel hasn’t bounced back quite yet.”

Anderson says the car and truck counts on state and local roadways continues to hold steady. “We seem to be pretty much back to where we were beforehand. Overall, travel is down one percent compared to 2019 levels for the same month,” Anderson says.

Traffic on roadways had dropped by 44 percent back in May of 2020 during the height of shutdowns. Anderson says the travel on city roadways is the one are that has been behind due to companies allowing employees to continue to work from home.


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