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Largest fall in GB traffic levels since records began reported

Date: 30 October 2020   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Road traffic levels in Great Britain fell by 13.6% for the year ending June 2020, the biggest drop since such records began in 1994.

Newly published provisional data from the Department for Transport shows that the decline, attributed by the coronavirus pandemic, was chiefly driven by car traffic, which dropped by 15.2%, while van and lorry traffic fell by 7.3% and 7.8% respectively.

Traffic levels decreased across all road types, but the biggest fall was seen in motorway traffic, which down by 17.3%, compared with a 14.1% drop on A roads and an 11.1% drop on minor roads.

The Department for Transport estimates that without the effects of the coronavirus lockdown, the overall figure would have shown a 1% increase in traffic, with the pandemic believed to have accounted for 51.7 billion fewer miles being driven.

Reacting to the figures, RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said: "There is little doubt that 2020 is having a profound impact on our travel habits.

""The million-pound question now is what happens next. With the introduction of local lockdowns in several parts of the UK, we're already seeing traffic volumes start to dip again after rising through the summer. 

"Nonetheless, the RAC's own analysis suggests that drivers are attaching greater importance to having access to a vehicle in light of the pandemic, which they see as a reliable and safe form of transport in these continuously uncertain times."