Roads are more congested on weekends than rush hour and average traffic speed in cities has fallen by a staggering 4.3 km/h over the past three years since before the pandemic.
According to traffic data, drivers traveling on Saturdays and Sundays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. take longer than drivers traveling during the weekday rush hour from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.
The results are based on analyzes of travel times in three of England’s largest cities: Birmingham, London and Manchester.
Average traffic speed in cities has fallen by as much as 2.5 mph in the past three years, since before the pandemic
Dan Saunders, lead product at Basemap, a transportation data company that conducted the analysis, told the Times, “Since the pandemic, the problems of morning and afternoon peaks have been extending to other times of the day and week.”
The Basemap traffic model is used by the Department for Transport.
In Birmingham, weekend journeys have been delayed from 16.5 mph in the year to April 2020 to 23.24 mph in the year to April.
London is even slower, with average speeds dropping from 14.6 mph to 20.56 mph.
In Manchester they have dropped from 15.2 mph to 20.83 mph.
At night, from midnight to 4 a.m., traffic has slowed from 20.39 mph to 18.78 mph in Birmingham, from 18.64 mph to 27.51 mph in London and from 18.55 mph to 27, 73 mph in Manchester.
The current situation may be a consequence of public transport, as many people chose car travel when the pandemic hit – and still have not returned.
National rail traffic was at about 88 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with bus passengers outside London at 91 percent and London Underground travelers at 80 percent.
By contrast, van traffic, which serves the boom in online shopping and grocery delivery, is at 116 percent of pre-pandemic levels and car traffic is at 96 percent, according to Department for Transport figures for the week to Oct. 3.
While road traffic is at a high level, road capacity is being reduced by the government’s desire to improve life in the city.
As part of this effort, measures include the spread of 20 mph restrictions, the creation of low-traffic neighborhoods and more dedicated bike lanes.
Road capacity is being reduced by the government’s desire to make city life better. As part of this action, measures include the spread of 20 mph . restrictions
Nick Owen, head of network performance at Transport for London, said a 1 mph drop in the speed of a bus journey cost the authority around £200 million a year as passengers stayed away, the Times reported.
Owen has conducted a trial in the Islington area to overcome setbacks by better managing road works and replacing traffic lights where necessary.
Measures included reducing the time vehicles had to wait for a green light from 265 seconds to 140 seconds, to prevent vehicles from making detours to smaller roads to avoid delays.
Six other boroughs have now expressed interest following the results of this trial, as have Transport for the North and the transport authorities for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.
The current situation may be a result of public transport, as many people opted for car travel when the pandemic hit – and still haven’t returned.
Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder’s professor of geography in Oxford, said it was wrong to blame measures designed to improve safety and encourage walking and cycling.
‘The changes in our road network, whether it concerns speed limits of 20 km/h or neighborhoods with little traffic, are far too small to explain this reduction in speed. The great thing that has happened is that more people are trying to use their cars in different ways than before the pandemic. It doesn’t take much to have this effect all at once.’
He said it was possible to reduce journey times without increasing speed limits and reducing safety: “If buses can actually travel at 20mph, the journey will be much faster than if they were driving on a road where the official speed limit is 30mph.” mph, but congestion means you’re driving under 10 mph very often.’
David Milner, deputy director of Create Streets, a charitable foundation that has influenced government planning policies, said, “Private cars are an inefficient use of space in cities.”
Edmund King, president of the AA, suggested the stalemate could be alleviated with “quality park-and-ride or park and ebike facilities,” which include banks of slower electric vehicle chargers to allow commuters to charge their cars during the day. “Gridlocked cities will only push more residents and commuters to the suburbs and beyond,” he said.
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