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All modes of travel in the state getting closer to pre-pandemic levels

DES MOINES — The numbers for planes, trains, and automobiles continue to show a rebound in traffic following drops during the COVID pandemic.

The Department of Transportation’s Stuart Anderson gave a report on highway traffic Tuesday to the state Transportation Commission. “We are continuing to be really close to pre-pandemic levels. Our June numbers were at one percent below the June of 2019 levels,” Anderson says.

Anderson says there is still some impact from workers telecommuting. “I think on some of our really heavy commuter routes traditionally — those are lagging some more than some of our other routes,” according to Anderson. Anderson cites the I-235 route through Des Moines as an example where numbers are lower as some businesses haven’t returned to in-person work.

He says the most recent air travel numbers reflect the recovery. “The May numbers grew pretty healthfully from April. We are actually at about 70 percent of the May 2019 level,” Anderson says. “And I think some of the numbers that we get from TSA looking at throughput at our commercial service airports in Iowa indicate that we are going to see a lot more growth as we get the June numbers and then July. I think this is rebounding faster than expected.”

Anderson says freight traffic has also rebounded. He says the rail freight traffic hasn’t fully recovered in part because of the situation with cars and trucks are not being shipped as heavily right now.


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