1. Transport
May 5, 2020

UK traffic falls to early 1970s levels

By Jonn Elledge

It isn’t your imagination, cyclists: there really are vastly fewer cars on the roads than normal.

Figures from the UK government, based on readings at 275 sites around the country, show that motorised traffic still stands at only around 35-45% of normal levels. That, according to Edmund King, president of the AA, means that traffic levels are “now akin to those in the early 1970s” – a time when the number of vehicles licensed to use Britain’s roads stood at around 13.5 million, only a third of the 38.9 million today. More retro road analysis from the BBC here.

Meanwhile in London, the mayor’s office is moving to take advantage of the sudden decline in traffic, by drawing up plans for wider pavements and new cycle lanes. 

Will Norman, the capital’s walking and cycling commissioner, has been enthusiastically tweeting examples of space being reclaimed from cars from across the capital. He explained the thinking behind the mayor’s “Streetspace Plan” in an article for BikeBiz.com on Friday.


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