New data from shared by location technology company TomTom has revealed a significant drop in the number of people driving on the UK’s roads during lockdown. Traffic congestion has almost disappeared since the government advised people to stay at home in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
In the UK’s 25 largest cities congestion levels have dropped by an average of 57% – from 73% to just 16%. The congestion level at any given point is calculated by working out the extra time a driver will need to complete a journey due to traffic. Data from TomTom shows that after the lockdown was announced the extra time drivers need to do a 30-minute trip went down by an average of 17 minutes.
Figures show that roads first started to be less busy in mid-March, when the government announced that it would be closing schools. The day after the lockdown was announced congestion levels went down ever further, and have remained low ever since. Over the Easter weekend there was almost no traffic in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
It’s not just car drivers who are staying at home, footfall in retail areas is also significantly down as shops and businesses close their physical premises. In March, footfall in retail destinations decreased by an unprecedented 41.3%, compared to the same period in 2019. This is the lowest result since 2009, when they first started publishing data.