Commute times in Seattle rise as Amazon, others return to office

As more and more people return to the office, commute times on major highways are increasing.

SEATTLE – If it feels like the morning commute to work in western Washington is longer, new data provides some evidence to back it up.

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people who still have to go to the office in person enjoy shorter commute times as many companies switch to teleworking.

However, companies like Amazon and Meta have started asking workers to return to the office at least a few days a week.

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Data from INRIX, a transportation data analytics company based in Kirkland, shows that traffic has not only gotten worse in western Washington since Amazon took on the task of turning around. office, it even dropped to pre-pandemic levels in some cases.

In 2019, the average speed of drivers traveling on Interstate 90 into Seattle was 39 mph. Just over a month ago, drivers were averaging 45 miles per hour. After Amazon announced its reopening, the average speed dropped to 29 mph, indicating that more cars are regularly on the road.

The Interstate 5 route from Tacoma to Seattle used to average 36 mph, but that driving speed has dropped to just 32 mph.

In particular, INRIX noticed slower speeds on the State Route 520 floating bridge, falling from 42 mph pre-pandemic to an average of just 30 mph.

King County Metro also saw an increase in passenger traffic as more workers returned to the office. Monthly passenger numbers increased by 15,000 from April to May and by 45,000 since 2022.

Edmuns DeMars

Edmund DeMarche is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Edmund DeMarche joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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