Understanding Commute Patterns in a Post-COVID Environment

Commuters in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Suburban Maryland region have historically experienced some of the worst commutes in the country, averaging nearly 45 minutes one-way pre-pandemic. COVID-induced work from home policies saw 42% of the US labor force working remotely during the pandemic, while the remaining population was not working (33%) or in-person as essential personnel (26%). Commute times in 2020 dropped significantly, as office occupancy never exceeded 25% in the region. As COVID case rates continue to fall, more people become fully inoculated, and summer travel plans taper off, office occupancies will begin to climb. Many employers in the region are setting an early Fall 2021 back-in-person date while considering flexible workplace strategies.