Data shows no “new normal” in traffic flows across England

Analysis of traffic across towns, cities and rural areas of England suggests that a morning peak returned now schools have reopened, but that flows are still below pre-lockdown levels.

Transport Technology Forum (TTF) data from 107 different districts and boroughs outside London suggests that last week saw an increase in peak-time traffic and a reduction in inter-peak, which is a change from road usage during lockdown.

Traffic grew nearly six per cent last week but is, though, still eight per cent below pre-lockdown levels in the morning.

“People talk about a new normal, but there is no sign of traffic levels settling down yet,” commented Arup associate Yousef Majeed, who worked on the data. “We are seeing some people are driving more instead of using public transport, but others who may have dropped their children at school on their way to work are now home working so walking instead and not using their cars.

“It’s not a black-and-white picture, but so far we are seeing fewer people using the roads in the peak period. It is possible that people have changed their routines which, if continued long term, has implications for transport planning.

“I believe the fact the traffic demand changes week-by-week makes the TTF’s analysis of all types of roads off the strategic network extremely valuable.”

The data is now showing a difference between Monday-to-Friday traffic patterns compared to the weekend, which reflects pre-lockdown behaviour. During the height of lockdown, traffic patterns were largely similar every day.

This week’s TTF report also reports on cycling use and shares examples of latest policies from local authorities including a way to engage the public with new measures plus an app to allow them to report road defects.

Read the report here.

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