Brisbane motorists enjoy faster peak time travel during COVID

New data has revealed average weekday travel speeds on some motorways in the south east increased by up to 183 percent during COVID-19 restrictions.

RACQ’s monthly Travel Speed Report found Brisbane motorists were dodging peak-hour traffic during April, when strict stay at home restrictions were in place.

RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith said the average travel speed on the Centenary Motorway outbound from Moggill Road to Fig Tree Pocket Road increased by 183 percent in the afternoon peak, compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

“In April 2019, the average travel speed was just 29km/h and in April this year that speed increased to 82km/h,” Ms Smith said. 

“This was the biggest increase we saw last month on major roads in Brisbane.

“The Centenary Motorway outbound between Miskin Street and Moggill Road also saw a huge increase in speed, with travel time in the afternoon peak increasing by 111 percent.

“Traditionally these are sections of road that suffer from severe congestion in the afternoon peak, so essential workers would have enjoyed less traffic on the roads and faster speeds.”

Ms Smith said speeds were also 96 percent faster on the Pacific Motorway inbound, between Springwood and Underwood Road, during the morning peak.

“The average speed for the same section last year in April was 52km/hour, compared to 102km/hour during the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions,” she said.

“The Pacific Motorway inbound between the Logan River Bridge and Springwood also saw an increase in travel speed by 96 percent.”

Ms Smith said, due to easing of restrictions, the return of students to school, and people beginning to return to work these levels of free-flowing traffic would be short-lived.

“The inevitability is we will see the return of congestion on many SEQ roads,” she said.

“However, this level of free-flowing traffic is a reminder to all levels of Government, what could happen if we invest properly in our infrastructure network, including public transport, walking and cycling paths. We can better ease congestion if we plan and invest properly.”