Australian traffic returns to pre-Covid levels as employees return to office

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Peak: traffic returns to pre-Covid levels in Australia as workers return to the office – and some roads are busier than ever

  • Traffic on the Sydney and Brisbane roads is returning to pre-Covid levels
  • Melbourne was the exception as it saw a drop in traffic in the March quarter
  • Sydney’s Hills M2 highway experienced a traffic increase of 9.3 percent compared to 2020
  • Throughout the country, traffic dropped during COVID as people worked from home

With COVID-19 restrictions relaxed and more people returning to the office, traffic levels around Australia are returning to pre-Covid levels.

Road toll operator Transurban said roads in Sydney and Brisbane saw an increase in average daily traffic in the March quarter compared to the same period in 2020.

The jump in traffic comes as residents of cities in Australia slowly return to the office and hit the road on their commute.

Traffic is almost back to normal in Sydney and Brisbane as people return to the office

The company said Sydney roads had seen a 21.8 percent jump to 936,000 trips in the March quarter of this year, or a 4.8 percent jump without the contributions from the M5 / M8 East and NorthConnex.

Transurban said in a statement to ASX that the improved traffic performance was due to the relaxation of restrictions.

“Improved working environment in Sydney, with the city now largely free of restrictions over the period,” the statement read.

In Brisbane, the company wrote that average daily traffic had increased by 3.3 percent to 403,000 trips.

Traffic increased despite the city being forced into two separate lockdowns in January and March during the quarter.

While Sydney and Brisbane saw an increase in average daily traffic, Melbourne saw a decrease in average daily traffic for the quarter, dropping 15.2 percent to 675,000 trips.

Sydney's top performing road was the Hills M2 highway, which was only 3.4 percent lower than before the covid 2019 levels

Sydney’s top performing road was the Hills M2 highway, which was only 3.4 percent lower than before the covid 2019 levels

The company blamed lockdowns and mandatory indoor masks during the quarter, but noted that traffic levels improved since restrictions were relaxed in February.

Transurban said traffic on Sydney’s newest roads exceeded pre-Covid levels.

The average daily traffic of 37,000 on NorthConnex continues to exceed expectations set before COVID-19. M8 and M5 East’s assets also continue to grow, ”it wrote.

Sydney’s top performing road, the Hills M2 highway has almost returned to pre-Covid levels, with 135,000 average daily trips in the quarter, 9.3 percent above the 2020 quarter and just 3.4 percent below 2019.

Some of Sydney’s main roads increased from the quarter before Covid March 2019, including the M5 West motorway up 1.6%.

Sydney's newest roads - the NorthConnex and the M8 and M5 have both exceeded expectations

Sydney’s newest roads – the NorthConnex and the M8 and M5 have both exceeded expectations

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