Commuters made a comeback to downtown Tampa in 2023
A study shows downtown Tampa commuting increased more than any other city in the first five months of 2023.
A transportation data company says Tampa had the country's biggest increase in traffic to its downtown in the first five months of 2023.
And city transportation officials are seeing it on the streets, too.
The Inrix "Return to Office" report says that, while they are still not at pre-pandemic levels, the number of cars commuting to Tampa is definitely up.
Vik Bhide, Tampa's director of mobility, said general traffic came back in a hurry after COVID. But 2023 saw the return of more workers to downtown.
That means more congestion.
Bhide said the only solution is for more commuters to use public transit.
"Now that we're seeing commuters come back, we're seeing that congestion and some of the quality of life issues related to that come back again," Bhide said. "We need more transit, we have to have more transit participation."
And, Bhide said, it doesn't take a massive upswing in the use of mass transit to really make a difference in congestion.
"Our transit participation is about 2%," Bhide said. "If that transit participation were about 6% even, or 7%, which is quite healthy granted for a city like ours, we would still see a significant difference in congestion levels."
Tampa drivers lost 21 hours to congested roads in 2022.