Research Project into the effects of COVID-19 on Traffic Flows

A few months ago, we announced that we were taking part in a project with 360TSL to compare traffic flows from pre-lockdown and post-lockdown periods. We have now been able to share the results of our survey with clients and a wider audience, and we’ve summarised the project below.

In September 2020, the project revisited 19 Automatic Traffic Counts, three turning counts and a supermarket in order to compare results from the same sites taken in September 2019. The aim of the project was to see what effect lockdown and coronavirus measures have had on traffic numbers and flow.

The results show that over 7 days the traffic flows had reduced by 4.9%. That reduction increased to 5.5% between Mondays and Fridays. There was no obvious change in the speeds of vehicles; any sites that have altered have changed by a tiny percentage and there is no discernible pattern. The turning counts showed a mixture of results from a 24% decrease to slight increases in overall movements at some sites and the supermarket had 8.2% fewer vehicles than during the same period in 2019.

Road Data Services MD, Steve Best, says: “We will repeat this process at the same sites in the future to see if the flows alter. The aim of this project is to give transport and development planners sufficient evidence to help make informed decisions on current projects as well as researching what the ‘new normal’ will be in the future.”

Value of comparative traffic surveys

This project shows the clear value of taking comparative traffic, ATC, and parking surveys. Although circumstances like those caused by the pandemic this year are rare, there are often local issues that can have an affect on the quantity and speed of traffic on the roads. Comparative data can be extremely useful for highway planners, local developers and planning departments in general.

To find out more about how we can design initial or comparative surveys to support your decision making, contact us today.

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