You may or may not have noticed that volume on the roads is back on the rise.
TrafficCast, a leading provider of traffic data and insights, says there were a lot fewer cars on the roads right at the beginning of the quarantine.
The company is located right here in Wisconsin. They visualize traffic data through graphics, analytics and mobile services. They collect the data based on the GPS navigational systems in trucking fleets and some mobile apps. They add in the incident and construction reports and come up with traffic speeds and volume data trends in general.
Right after the lockdown started, traffic – and the number of trips people were taking – were down anywhere from 30 to 35%, according to TrafficCast Executive Vice President Nick Kiernan.
“That trend continued and even got more significant in mid April, where it was almost 40%,” explains Kiernan.
That’s compared to the baseline they took in February before the quarantine hit.
“We found that there were a lot less vehicles on the road, and that meant people in heavy drive times were going a lot faster. And actually, the number of accidents might have gone down a little bit, but the accidents that occurred tended to be more severe,” Kiernan adds.
That’s a real danger. Behaviorally, it seems like some people see more pavement and less cars, and they automatically think they can speed.
By the way, fight the urge, law enforcement is still out there doing their job to control speeders and reckless drivers. Don’t think you won’t get caught.
The good news: Things look to be turning around.
“Our data is now showing the number of trips as well as the volume of cars is down around 10% [from the February baseline],” Kiernan explains.
Proving what I’ve been seeing on the roads the last couple of weeks.
So what’s a conclusion you can make from this data?
“People were responsible and they took to heart the advisories to work from home and try to keep themselves safe and keep others safe. But the main thing is that people in Wisconsin, like so many people around the country were paying attention and heeding the warnings. And that could explain why we’ve had a relatively good result in the COVID-19 testing in the state,” says Kiernan.
And as we all climb back into what’s going to be the “new normal,” let’s keep our wits about us on the roads as the volume and delays start picking up.