Amid the disruption, tragedy and uncertainty of COVID-19, one of the few benefits of the unfortunate situation was the change in our transport habits. The roads were clear, cities were quieter, the air was cleaner; cycling increased massively and we all enjoyed a healthier way of living. Unfortunately, it seems we’re rapidly reverting to past habits. In fact, there’s a risk that things could end up even worse than they were before lockdown.
Since 1st March, the Department for Transport has been publishing weekly data on transport use, measuring weekly data against the pre-COVID baseline. You can find the numbers here.
As the graph below shows (drawn from the DfT data), car and lorry use are virtually back to normal. In fact, in the past week, lorry use has actually gone past 100% of pre-COVID levels. By contrast, cycling is now showing a steady decline from the very high numbers of early lockdown. Perhaps most worryingly, public transport use is still far below pre-COVID rates. There is now a risk that as people return to work, we could actually see car use regularly exceeding pre-COVID levels.
Tom McPhail, director of public affairs for Pure Electric, said: “No one actually wants to sit in a noisy traffic jam, breathing dirty air and inching towards an appointment with a cardiologist. This week the government published a bold vision for promoting cycling and walking and permanently changing our transport habits and the health of the nation.
“This data shows how urgent the task is and how important it is they deliver on this strategy as quickly as possible.”
This article was written by the team behind Pure Electric.