Rush-hour traffic plummets in Tier 2 London

Rush-hour traffic plummets in Tier 2 London: Cars on the road in the capital drop by 14% on last Monday and congestion is down in other cities in first full week of new restrictions

  • Rush-hour congestion levels in London at 46% at 8am, down from 60% last week and 63% last year
  • Nine million Londoners are now banned from meeting other households indoors amid tier two restrictions
  • Many continue to work from home after Government urged people to do so if possible on September 22
  • Drops in congestion also seen in other UK cities this morning including Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds

Rush-hour traffic has plunged in London two days after the capital was put into a tier two coronavirus lockdown.

Congestion levels this morning were at 46 per cent during the rush hour at 8am, down 14 percentage points from 60 per cent at the same time last week and down from a 63 per cent average last year.

It comes after nine million Londoners were banned from meeting other households indoors and many continue to work from home following the Government urging people to do so if possible on September 22. 

Drops in congestion compared to last week were seen in other UK cities at 8am today, although not to such a great extent – possibly because many have been experiencing restrictions for longer than London.

According to TomTom, falls were seen in Birmingham at 38 per cent, down from 42 per cent the previous week; Manchester at 29 per cent, down from 35 per cent; and Leeds at 29 per cent, down from 31 per cent. 

Cars queue at traffic lights this morning in Dagenham, East London, as congestion levels fall across the capital in rush hour 

TomTom traffic congestion levels in London this morning were at 46 per cent during the rush hour at 8am, down 14 percentage points from 60 per cent at the same time last week and down 17 percentage points from a 63 per cent average last year

Commuters wait for a the Jubilee line train at Canning Town station on the London Underground in East London this morning

Commuters sit on a Jubilee line train on the London Underground this morning as they continue to travel to work

Sheffield was at 31 per cent, down from 33 per cent last week; Liverpool was at 37 per cent, which was level with last week; while Newcastle was at 34 per cent, which was marginally up on 33 per cent last week.

Live TomTom traffic congestion data also showed the figure in London was 44 per cent at 9am today, down from 56 per cent last week; while at 7am it was at 40 per cent, down from 43 per cent last week. 

Today’s rush hour traffic congestion in England

Congestion in London this morning:

  • 6am: 15% (down from 16% last week and 23% last year)
  • 7am: 40% (down from 43% last week and 52% last year)
  • 8am: 46% today (down from 60% last week and 63% last year)
  • 9am: 44% today (down from 56% last week but up from 43% last year)

Congestion at 8am today in other UK cities:

  • Liverpool: 37% (same as last week; down from 47% last year)
  • Manchester: 29% (down from 35% last week; down from 62% last year)
  • Birmingham: 38% (down from 42% last week; down from 51% last year)
  • Leeds: 29% today (down from 31% last week; down from 53% last year)
  • Sheffield: 31% today (down from 33% last week; down from 51% last year)
  • Newcastle: 34% (slightly up from 33%; down from 49% last year)

It contrasts with data emerging last Friday revealing nearly two out of every three workers are now commuting to their job in a sign that many employees were rejecting official advice to work from home. 

Official estimates said 65 per cent of working people are now travelling to an office, factory, shop or other workplace for at least some of their week, the highest share since the first lockdown began to ease in May.

For the first time more than half the working population are travelling to work every day and have entirely abandoned working from home, the Office for National Statistics said. 

Its surveys found that 54 per cent of employees were commuting every day in the week that ended on Sunday, October 11 – up from 48 per cent in the previous week.

The back-to-work movement is happening despite Boris Johnson’s appeal last month for people to work from home when they can. 

The call, made as the Government ordered pubs and restaurants to close at 10.00 and as Rule of Six restrictions were being introduced, was a reversal of the Prime Minister’s earlier hopes that people would get back to their offices and workplaces.

The ONS linked the shift to the end of furlough subsidies at the end of this month, the re-opening of more businesses, and the return of more people to normal working following the end of the summer holidays.

Its report said: ‘Despite Government guidance to work from home wherever possible on 22 September 2020, there is no indication that the longer-term trend of travelling to work has changed.’

It added that there was ‘a corresponding decrease in the proportion of people who are not in work for reasons such as temporary closure of their business or workplace, being on annual leave, or being unable to work because of caring responsibilities, or being furloughed: 12 per cent this week, down from 17 per cent last week. 

This Apple mobility data map shows how requests for driving (red), public transport (purple) and walking (orange) have changed over the past ten months, based on a baseline of mid-January, slightly falling back down again in recent weeks

Passenger numbers on the London Underground and the capital’s buses are also now rising following the plunge in March

This data shows the breakdown of London Underground usage by the type of station, with seven different categories above

Commuters stand on an escalator at Canning Town station in East London during the morning rush hour today

Passengers wait for the doors to close on a London Underground Jubilee line train at Canning Town this morning

Commuters sit on a Jubilee line train in East London this morning as they continue to travel in to work

The 65 per cent figure for workers commuting for at least some of their week was up from 62 per cent in the first week of October.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps admits too many new cycle lanes are ‘unused’ leaving streets ‘backed up’ with traffic

Grant Shapps has hit out at ‘unused’ cycle lanes clogging up traffic – blaming some town halls for misusing special funds for ‘green’ transport.

The Transport Secretary declared he was ‘not prepared to tolerate’ badly designed road closures that led to traffic being ‘backed up’. 

He also vented his fury at new cycle lanes that impose ‘sweeping changes’ to entire communities.

Last month, pictures taken around the country showed cycle lanes lying empty or nearly empty while traffic squeezed past on narrowed streets.

Research conducted by MailOnline in London, where Transport for London is leading its own £33million scheme, showed that on Park Lane, in Mayfair, only 21 cyclists used the cycle lane as 400 cars battled past. 

Mr Shapps’ comments, in a letter sent to local councils last week, come despite the fact that many of the cycle lanes were built using money from an emergency £250million fund which he unveiled in May. 

The surveys showed that around three in four people said they were worried about the impact on their lives of coronavirus and efforts to tackle it. 

But more than two thirds – 67 per cent – of people in local lockdown areas complained about restrictions on their freedom and independence, compared to 55 per cent in places still comparatively free of restrictions.

Around one in six people – 17 per cent – said they rarely or never observed social distancing rules. 

It comes after retail giant Amazon told staff to continue working from home into 2021, leading a wave of employers who are delaying a return to the office amid soaring coronavirus cases.

The company previously announced plans to allow workers worldwide to stay at home if they could do their job ‘effectively’ until early January.

But after the government announced plans to put London into Tier Two lockdown restrictions from tomorrow to clamp down on virus cases, they pushed back the expected return date for UK employees to March.

Amazon’s giant British headquarters in London’s Principal Place, which can hold up to 5,000 staff members, have been largely empty since the first lockdown in March this year.

Firms are concerned about setting definitive dates for a return to the office.

More than half of accounting firm KPMG’s 17,000-strong workforce who would usually work at a clients’ office or a company workplace had joined other staff who were already working from home.

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