Reminder issued to only make essential journeys

Photo of North Devon Link Road

Posted on: 1 May 2020

People are being reminded to stay at home and only make essential journeys during the coronavirus lockdown.

The advice from Devon County Council comes as traffic figures from a sample of 10 automatic traffic counters on Devon’s A-roads have shown that traffic volumes have started to creep up over the past week.

During the first two weeks of the lockdown, there was a dramatic reduction in traffic of around 68%/69% – with daily trips on those roads down to around 57,000 from around 178,000 at the same time last year.

However, over the last week, around 10,000 more daily journeys are now being made. Weekday flows are currently averaging around 70,000 trips per day at the 10 sites, and seven-day flows have grown by 20% since the end of March.

Morning traffic flows between 8am and 9am have only seen a small rise in the last week – an average of 21 trips per traffic counter site. So it would seem most of the increased trips are taking place outside of the traditional morning peak hour.

Although traffic speeds are still being analysed, early indications are that average speeds have also increased during the lockdown period, and a greater proportion of traffic is travelling above speed limits.

Photo of Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “It is, of course, a concern to see any increase in traffic flows on Devon’s roads, though what we’re seeing reflects the national picture. The lockdown restrictions are tough on all of us, but I would urge everyone to think about whether you need to make your journey. We’ve all heard the messages about staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives, and we should thank everyone who has stuck to that because we’ve seen that you are making a difference.

“The South West has the lowest rate of hospital coronavirus cases in the country, and everyone in our region has helped play a part in that by observing the lockdown restrictions. We can’t let that go now, particularly with a Bank Holiday coming up. If everyone starts travelling around Devon it may not take much for us to lose the progress we’ve made. Please continue with your efforts – stay at home and only make essential journeys.”

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