Research & reports

Title: Analysing the Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown on Vehicle Flow and Speeds in the UK

Organisation: Road Safety Analysis /Agilysis
Date uploaded: 21st July 2020
Date published/launched: July 2020

This report analyses traffic speeds during lockdown and reveals a startling difference in speeds on roads when the volume of traffic falls.

The research project brings together data from several local authorities in rural and urban settings and looks at how traffic levels changed in the Covid-19 lockdown period, and the impact on drivers’ speed choice.

The report demonstrates that traffic flows in the lockdown period reduced by between 58-64% – with the biggest declines recorded on roads with speed limits above 50mph.

When transformed for flow, a drop of 10,000 vehicles per day on a single stretch of 60mph road was matched by an increased average speed of 2.2mph.

High-end speeding was also found to be a problem on 60mph roads, with vast increases in the proportion of drivers travelling more than 15mph above the limit.

This effect was less pronounced on the rest of the road network including motorways and urban, low-speed roads.

Agilysis says the results demonstrate the importance of speed enforcement, especially at times when more people are walking and cycling.

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