Here's How Much Worse Traffic Has Been in Boston Since Labor Day

Thursday was the busiest day on city streets the agency has seen since the Orange Line shutdown began, according to the MBTA's general manager

Traffic on the Zakim Bridge in Boston
Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images, File

Has traffic seemed worse around the Boston area since Labor Day? You're not alone.

Massachusetts transportation officials and other experts had warned that traffic would be worse, when people returning from vacation and students starting school would clog roads already strained by the closure of the Orange Line train -- the 30-day shutdown is entering its last week.

Sure enough, snarled traffic was reported by plenty of local drivers last week:

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said on Friday that the day before, when Boston Public Schools students returned to class, was the busiest day on city streets the agency has seen since the Orange Line shutdown began.

"With post-Labor Day traffic, we've seen an uptick in traffic," he said. "We've had students return on the north side of the line. The bulk of the students in the Boston area returned yesterday, and we also saw really challenging traffic conditions."

The Orange Line is scheduled to remain shut down until Sept. 19, and the MBTA says 66% of the work has been completed.

But traffic had been ramping up in the area since before Labor Day, according to data shared by Waze, the navigation company that powers the NBC10 Boston and NECN traffic pages.

In the Boston metropolitan area, traffic actually decreased between the Thursday before the Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1, and the Thursday afterward. Traffic was down 4.7%, according to Waze. The decrease was smaller in the city itself: traffic was down 0.7%.

This Thursday's traffic was higher in the Boston metropolitan area compared to two weeks earlier, Thursday, Aug. 25, by 1.1%, and in the city it was up 3.7%, Waze said.

Traffic was seriously heavy on the Thursday before the holiday weekend, according to Waze. Here's how much traffic was up in cities around the area:

  • Boston: 15%
  • Brookline: 35%
  • Framingham: 14%
  • Somerville: 16%
  • Cambridge: 9%
  • Waltham: 13%
  • Lowell: 13%
  • Salem: 10%
  • Quincy: 4%
  • Newton: 1%
  • Woburn: 0.1%
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