Government Shutdown Solved One Problem: Washington D.C. Traffic

The government shutdown has left hundreds of thousands of workers without a paycheck while creating headaches for millions of Americans. However, there is a beam of light amid the darkness. Washington D.C. traffic isn’t the headache it normally is.

Taxi alternative Uber has mapped the frequency of use for its service since the shutdown and has found that “a lot fewer” travelers are using transportation services during the government furlough.

Speaking to Mashable Bradley Voytek, a data evangelist at Uber, explains, “We’re always very curious about how people move around in their city. So whenever anything happens that could affect that, we’re interested in it.”

In an Uber blog post the company first maps out a “normal” week of trips that move between the Capitol and surrounding areas. A large portion of those trips not surprisingly come by way of business trips between downtown and the Capitol.

Uber then calculated the difference in rides before and after the government shutdown. The study showed a fairly drastic decrease in traffic starting around October 1, the first day of the shutdown.

Workers in Washington D.C. are most likely not surprised by the sudden decrease in traffic since they deal with commuting every day. Visitors to the Capitol have commented that the city seems very slow at the moment.

The study also examined the proportion of rides between the capitol and downtown by the hour, before and after the shutdown. During regular weekdays 1.5% of all rides were between the Capitol and downtown. Following the government shutdown that number fell by 1% to just 0.5%.

Weekend trips, most often taken for personal reasons, have remained steady since the government shutdown began.

If you want to take a trip to Washington, D.C. and you don’t mind skipping over the inside of shut down buildings, now is your chance to avoid traffic headaches and big crowds.

Uber Traffic in Washington DC

You can read the full Uber traffic report for the Capitol and all of downtown areas HERE.