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Traffic levels return to pre-lock down normality

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

Latest data suggests that the volume or cars, vans and trucks on UK roads has reverted back to levels seen before the coronavirus lock down.


This now lines up with what we would have expected to see at this time of year as normal, surrounding summer and the school holidays. That said, figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) do however suggested that trains, tubes and buses are continuing to carry a small fraction of passengers compared to their typical offerings, as people avoid public transport and adhere to social distancing measures of using their own personal vehicles wherever possible.

It has been reported from journey data collected on Monday 10th August, that national trains are now carrying just 25% of the total number of passengers they would normally expect. London’s underground carried out a slightly higher number of journeys at 28%, whilst London buses were transporting just over half of the passengers they normally would at just 53% total.

DfT have also confirmed that national buses were carrying 39% of their standard passenger numbers on Monday, and yet light commercial vehicle (LCV) and heavy commercial vehicle (HGV) use both measures 100%, with car capacity just below at 90% - indicating that logistics and transport services remain working almost as normal, and personal car usage staggers back up as people begin returning to the office and local businesses reopen.

Interestingly however, it has been estimated by RAC Breakdown that drivers are still planning on making around 45 million day trips in August this year, as 49% of the drivers it questioned confirmed they would be taking the family for a day at the beach, to a tourist hotspot, attraction or visitors centre before the end of the month. Perhaps not as unsurprising as the government backed “Eat out to Help out” scheme launched this month, and as we near the extended bank holiday weekend too. 

Simon Williams, RAC Breakdown spokesman said: “Our research shows that August is set to be a massive month for day trips as families look to try to make the most of what’s left of the school holidays and pack in some family fun now the lock down has been eased.”

As the country begins to emerge from lock down and vehicles get back out on the roads, data from supporting transport and fleet management solutions can provide great insights into how traffic patterns are evolving. At Teletrac Navman, our data supports these traffic trends, and we’re helping DfT monitor and understand patterns as the UK reverts back to normality by supplying daily deliveries of traffic information which allow them to track both the amount of driving, and the types of journey taking place.

It’s certainly a strange time for the UK right now, but as we come closer each day to what we consider “normal”, we’re proud to be supporting bodies such as DfT in identifying the best ways to help make the transitions as smooth as possible; one day at a time.

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