Does Traffic Get Worse After the End of Daylight Saving Time?

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Photo by JoshMcConnell via Flickr

Frustrated with a new (and slower) traffic pattern, one LAist reader earlier this week wrote us an e-mail: "Over the past week I’ve noticed a sharp increase in Eastbound traffic between Bundy and Overland during the morning rush hour, almost doubling the Santa Monica-Century City commute time," he noted. "Any idea as to why this might be? Have they reprogrammed the signals in the area? Perhaps the one at Sawtelle or Sepulveda?"

Then yesterday, Eric Richardson at blogdowntown Twittered, "Every year it feels like the weeks after the time falls back have far worse traffic than the weeks before. Why is that?"

The Department of Transportation's Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) System expert engineer Sean Skehan might have an answer. "We have not made any timing changes on Olympic Blvd," he said, "but with the end of Daylight Saving time, people do adjust their schedules, and there is more light earlier in the mornings now (and less late afternoons.)"

Really? That much of a noticeable difference? It's that common?

"Actually, yes," said Skehan. "Each year, Spring and Fall, we have a bump in traffic patterns when the time changes. It also happens when school starts and ends each year."

So hopefully in a few weeks, traffic will get back to normal. Well, normal as normal can be in this city, that is.