Smart Transport

Vivacity Labs data shows 60% reduction in UK traffic due to COVID-19

Vivacity Labs’ data has shown that UK car traffic has seen a 60% reduction across the last two weeks as a result of the lockdown due to coronavirus.

The data also showed a drop off of 45% from light goods vehicles, despite the increase in demand for delivery services as many in the UK self-isolate at home and stay away from the shops.

The traffic insight company  has been tracking data from its network of artificial intelligence (AI) based video road sensors to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the UK’s highways.

Peter Mildon, COO and co-founder of Vivacity Labs, said: “While some regions saw a quicker reduction in traffic numbers than others last week, since the lockdown on Monday 23 March, this reduction has been remarkably uniform from city to city, and from urban area to highway.”

Analysing the data by mode shows:

  • Pedestrians saw the largest drop off at 80%
  • Car traffic dropped by 60%
  • Cyclists initially dropped very slowly, but since Monday have now dropped by 75%
  • Light Goods vehicles dropped by 45%
  • Initially there was no change seen in Motorbike or HGV volumes, but since Monday they have dropped by 65% and 40% respectively
  • Even buses have now dropped by 40% since the lockdown, indicating significant reductions in public transport services

Mildon said: “The question remains; what happens when all of this is over? Will everyone go back to their daily commute, or will companies finally realise that work can be done just as efficiently, and just as securely from home?

“Given the climate emergency, I hope we don’t see road traffic demand bounce back to the ‘pre-COVID-19’ peaks.

“I was also reassured to see that demand for cycling initially held up compared with other non-delivery modes – perhaps this has encouraged some individuals to try cycling rather than take public transport, at least in the early stages of social distancing. When this is all over, hopefully some positives can grow from this major international crisis.”

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