Motor traffic increases to 83% of pre-lockdown levels

Road traffic has returned to more than four-fifths of pre-pandemic levels, new figures show.

Traffic levels across all vehicle types on Monday was 83% of the equivalent day in early February, according to Department for Transport (DfT) data.

That is a week-on-week increase of six percentage points.

A breakdown of the figures show that on Monday car use was at 79% compared with before the coronavirus outbreak, with vans and lorries at 92% and 97% respectively.

Latest confirmed data for trains show demand on June 29 was only 16% of what it was during the equivalent week in 2019.

Bus use outside London on Monday was at 29% of the equivalent day in the third week of January, while cycling in England was at 140% of what it was in early March.

Road traffic fell to 23% of pre-pandemic levels in mid-April, as people were urged to stay at home to tackle the virus.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: “In terms of lorry traffic, it’s almost as if coronavirus didn’t happen, with volumes staying close to pre-lockdown levels throughout.

“What’s interesting is the extent to which van traffic has come back, which could be good news for the economy and for congestion if those vans aren’t heading into town in the rush hour but are instead making home deliveries throughout the day and into the evening.

“The fact that car traffic is back to four-fifths of what it was before the lockdown shouldn’t surprise us, given the Government’s ongoing advice to avoid public transport, but since the Government is also advising us to work from home if we can, it begs the question of what these car trips are about and how different they are to our traditional commuting patterns.”