Traffic on the local authority road network back at pre-pandemic levels

This week’s Transport Technology Forum Covid-19 Weekly Digest suggests traffic levels have returned to pre-pandemic baseline levels for the first time since the crisis started.

The TTF has compared Department for Transport national data with figures collated from more than 100 local authority areas across England, and analysis from the last two weeks has found traffic count levels have reached baseline levels measured in February 2019.

However, the figures suggest the shape of daily traffic has changed since the pandemic , even though volumes have returned. The local road network is seeing less pronounced morning peaks, with increased traffic levels during the interpeak and the PM peak ending earlier than previously. Analysts believe this may be driven by changing commuter patterns and increased working from home among those who are able to.

Goods vehicle levels on both the local road network and strategic road network are 10% above baseline figures, while cycling levels are also higher than the calculated baseline, but not to the same levels captured during the first lockdown in Spring last year.

Darren Capes, DfT TTF lead, has commented on the latest Digest saying “When we started this analysis, we were helping government understand the adherence to lockdown rules. This has morphed into an extremely valuable aid for local authorities to understand the new shape of traffic and compare their experiences with other authorities across the country. Our data helps, and will continue to help, transport planners understand network demand and react accordingly. As lockdown rules continue to be relaxed, and our data shows traffic levels returning to a new type of normal, we will continue to provide this vital work.”

You can read the report here.

(Graphic – Transport Technology Forum)

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