Press Coverage

The Guardian: UK road travel falls to 1955 levels as Covid-19 lockdown takes hold

Friday, 3 April, 2020

Motor traffic and air pollution decline steeply, with walking and cycling in cities also down.

The coronavirus outbreak has brought Britain to a near standstill, with road travel plummeting by as much as 73%, to levels not seen since 1955.

All forms of travel have plunged in urban areas. Walking, cycling and car and van journeys are all down by about three-quarters, while bus numbers have fallen by 60%. The number of large lorries has declined by just 40% as essential supplies continue to be transported.

However, national data from Monday and Tuesday, the two most recent days available, shows a slight upward trend since the previous week, with motor traffic down only 63%, equivalent to 1962. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, called the trend concerning. “Please follow medical and scientific advice to stay home and save lives,” he said.

The empty streets have already resulted in big drops in air pollution, which is likely to reduce early deaths from lung and heart conditions. Traffic deaths and injuries are near certain to have fallen, but data is not yet available. Noise pollution, which is also known to have adverse affects on human health, is down, and the quieter streets have encouraged wildlife to venture into some towns.

Read the full article on the The Guardian website.