Dramatic reduction in traffic due to coronavirus travel restrictions

A new analysis by RACQ comparing March 2019 and March 2020 data has revealed traffic speeds across most major highways and motorways in the south east have improved significantly as a result of restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The Club’s Travel Speed Report for March 2020 revealed average travel speeds on parts of Centenary Motorway improved by as much as 92 percent in the afternoon peak and by more than 80 percent in the morning peak.

RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said it was pleasing to see the majority of residents were staying home and limiting travel as much as possible.

“Historically, average speeds in March are generally similar or slightly lower than February, however the March results were impacted heavily by gradual restrictions on travel,” Dr Michael said.

“While many of us are working from home and can’t enjoy faster travel speeds on sections of road where there is normally severe congestion, it will be of benefit to people who are still travelling to essential work and health appointments.

“It also means emergency vehicles can get to where they are going quicker and more safely.

“Preliminary data suggests freight movements to shops and homes hasn’t dropped dramatically, so logistic companies would no doubt be enjoying faster speeds as demand increases for delivered goods.”

Dr Michael said the average travel speed on sections of the Pacific Motorway improved by as much as 59 percent in the morning peak and by 27 percent in the afternoon.

“There were also positive improvements on the Mt Lindesay Highway between Browns Plains Road and the Park Ridge Interchange,” she said.

 “If the coronavirus lockdowns remain in place, we expect an even bigger improvement in average speeds in April and could see free flow speeds during morning and afternoon peaks.”