Average weekday travel speeds soar in May

New data has revealed the average weekday commute has improved significantly thanks to the impact of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

RACQ’s May 2020 Travel Speed Report found average weekday travel speeds in the south east increased by as much as 210 percent in May compared to the same time last year.

RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said the average speed on the Centenary Motorway between Ipswich Motorway and Dandenong Road in the morning peak saw the largest change, with speeds increasing by more than 60 km/h in May compared with the same time last year.

“The Centenary Motorway really was the big winner last month, as it also recorded large increases in average weekday travel speeds in the afternoon peak,” Dr Michael said.

“Between Moggill Road and Fig Tree Pocket Road in the afternoon, average speeds increased by 43km/h or 187 percent compared to May 2019.

“And between Miskin Street and Moggill Road, the average speed also increased by 43km/hour or 165 percent.

“These are huge differences and would really make a difference to how long motorists are spending in the car on the way to and from work or school drop-off or pick up.

“When some students returned to the classroom on 11 May and all students returned by 25 May, we did see an increase in traffic volumes and slightly lowered average speeds during the peaks, but it wasn’t enough to significantly impact the monthly data.”

Dr Michael said the Pacific Motorway also recorded a huge increase in weekday average speeds in the morning peak, with speeds increasing by 46km/h or 110 percent, between the Logan River Bridge to Springwood VMS.

“We’ve seen huge increases on sections of motorway that normally experience severe congestion in the morning and afternoon peaks,” she said.

“The average speed on the Pacific Motorway between Gaza Road and Underwood Road increased by 49km/h or 114 percent in the afternoon peak.

“This can be attributed to a major upgrade at the Pacific Motorway and Gateway Motorway merge that was under construction last year now being complete, and because of lower traffic volumes due to restrictions.”

“In the June survey we expect to see average travel speeds move closer to near-normal levels, as travel restrictions have been completely lifted within the State, students have returned to school and more people have returned to the workplace.”

*AM peak = 6am-10am, PM peak = 3pm-7pm