Chet Skwarcan is an award-winning engineer, writer, and industry innovator in the field of traffic engineering. He is known for leveraging his creativity, logic, and technology to solve today’s engineering challenges.

Social Distancing and Traffic Impacts

You may have noticed the morning and evening rush hours getting harder to find (especially if working from home). The peak hour traffic curve is flattening. As of April 5, workplace travel in Indiana is down 37% and trips to restaurants/shopping are down a whopping 45%. Grocery/pharmacy trips are down 17%. A couple categories actually increased — park trips are up 54% and trips between residences increased 10%. Maybe we are learning what Hoosiers consider important, or necessary, or essential…

These changes in travel patterns — i.e., where people travel and when they travel — provide workplaces and retail businesses data to adjust their hours of operation, the number of employees working from home, the size of building they need or the very nature of their business. Delivery services and trucking companies can use this data to optimize scheduling and reduce travel times.

Thriving businesses are finding new ways to contribute. Autonomous vehicles for example, are being used to deliver COVID-19 tests to the lab, reducing the number of health workers required to get tests processed. Autonomous vehicles also allow for contactless delivery services distributing groceries and medical supplies.

Successful businesses are not in survival mode — they are in reinvention mode. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel, we don’t know how far away it is, but we can see it.


Chet Skwarcan (traffic engineer, author, unique insights) with over 25 years of traffic engineering experience, solving traffic problems everywhere — online ideas available at