Coronavirus: This Is How Locking Changed UK Roads | UK News


New data from TomTom revealed a significant drop in the number of people driving on UK roads during the lockout.

Traffic congestion across the UK has almost disappeared as the government has advised people to stay at home in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The graph below shows how much congestion has eased on London’s normally busy roads.

The model is repeated across the country, with fewer vehicles on the roads everywhere.

In the UK’s 25 largest cities, congestion levels have declined on average by 57 percentage points, from 73% to just 16%.

The congestion level at a given time is calculated by calculating the additional time a driver will need to travel due to traffic.

So if a trip takes 30 minutes on empty roads but takes 45 minutes of traffic, the congestion level at that time is 50%.

Data shared by location technology company TomTom shows that after the lockout was announced, the additional time it took drivers to complete a 30-minute trip decreased on average by 17 minutes.

This means that a 30-minute trip that took 52 minutes on March 3 would have taken only 35 minutes on March 24 (17 minutes faster than before).

However, some cities have experienced even larger declines in road use.

Congestion levels in Manchester have decreased by 83%, with the additional time required to make a 30-minute trip reduced by 22 minutes.

Brighton and Hove recorded a 69% drop between March 3 and March 24, and the extra time required to make a 30-minute trip there decreased by 13 minutes.

The graph below shows the level of congestion in cities in the UK.

The darker the shade of blue on a given day, the more overtime drivers in that city will need to drive 30 minutes.

The graph shows that roads started to get less crowded in mid-March, when the government announced it would close schools.

The day after the lockdown was announced, congestion levels continued to drop and have remained low ever since.

Giant television urges people to stay at home on March 26 in Manchester
Giant television urges people to stay at home on March 26 in Manchester

During Easter weekend there was almost no traffic in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

The images below compare the volume of traffic in these three cities at Easter last year and this year – and clearly show how empty the roads are.

There are four levels, the red color marking the highest level and the gray color representing the lowest level of traffic.

The use of public transport has also decreased, as many people now work from home and do not use it for their daily commute.

The Citymapper mobility index shows a 90% drop in the number of people using the app to plan their newspapers.

Motorists are not only staying at home, traffic in retail areas is also down sharply as shops and businesses close their premises.

In March, attendance at retail destinations decreased by an unprecedented 41.3% compared to the same period in 2019, according to Spingboard.

A quiet St David shopping center in Cardiff on March 23
A quiet St David shopping center in Cardiff on March 23

This is the lowest result since 2009, when they started publishing data.

The drop was even more significant in several places, the number of street visits fell by more than 50% in central London, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

Recreational places such as museums, shopping malls, theaters and restaurants are even more clearly affected.

Data from our phones shows that the number of people in these areas decreased by 81% on April 11, according to the Google Mobility report.

An almost empty rush hour train from Tring in Hertfordshire to Euston
An almost empty rush hour train from Tring in Hertfordshire to Euston

People also travel less at transit stations, workplaces, grocery stores and pharmacies compared to pre-closure levels (during the five-week period January 3 to February 6, 2020).

Meanwhile, frequentation in residential areas is unsurprisingly increasing, as more and more people stay at home and walk or run in their area.

Overall, these trends have been similar in the UK, but there are significant regional disparities in the way parks are used.

Overall, fewer people still go to the parks than before the lock, but in some areas, such as Luton and Dundee, more people go to the park than before the lock.

The number of people using the parks has also fluctuated over time.

Not surprisingly, given the sun, overall park usage increased on Easter Saturday compared to the previous two locked weekends.


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