1. Transport
May 18, 2020updated 12 Jul 2022 8:13am

UK cities are awakening as lockdown is eased

By Nicu Calcea

Saturday saw a surge in walking and driving in the UK after the government eased lockdown restrictions.

The new rules – combined with warm spring weather – saw movement rates rise to 60% of pre-Covid-19 levels.

That compares to near 30% towards the end of March.

Numbers have been edging up since then – with the Bank Holiday weekend on May 8-10 showing an increase in walking in particular, ahead of the lockdown restrictions being partially lifted. 

Since Wednesday, people have been allowed unlimited exercise and can drive to other destinations in England such as beaches or parks.

Data from Apple Maps shows easing the restrictions had a clear and immediate effect.

The chart below shows how many requests for directions were made in the UK each day up to May 16. Data for May 11-12 is not available.

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Public transport activity has registered only a slight increase and is now at around 20% of pre-coronavirus levels.

UK drivers made 25% more requests for driving directions from Wednesday to Saturday last week compared to the week before, and 70% more than the same days of the week the lockdown started.

Despite the easing of the lockdown, the UK government recommends people should continue working from home and avoiding public transport whenever possible.

–Nicu Calcea

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