Early morning traffic in the northbound lanes of Interstate 93 in Boston, MA on May 19, 2020. Gov. Baker announced phase one of reopening on May 18, including allowing manufacturing and construction to being.
Craig F. Walker | Boston Globe | Getty Images
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released major guidelines on how U.S. offices should function as people return to work during the coronavirus pandemic — including advice that reverses years of public policy guidance on how people should commute to the office.
Instead of taking public transportation or carpooling, the CDC suggests people drive to work by themselves if feasible and advises corporations to provide incentives for employees to drive by themselves.
The new guidelines raised concerns over what could be unbearable traffic congestion and a surge in carbon emissions if people turn to cars in order to avoid exposure to the virus.
“Promoting private vehicle use as public health strategy is like prescribing sugar to reduce tooth decay,” said University of British Columbia urban planning and public health professor Lawrence Frank.
The challenges will grow more acute if residents abandon cities for less densely populated suburbs, a trend that may be getting underway.