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Covid: Car use in Southend hit a record low in 2020

The number of miles traveled by cars in Southend last year fell to its lowest level on record.

Department of Transportation data shows that cars and taxis have driven an estimated 282 million miles on the streets of Southend in 2020.

That was 24% less than in 2019 when 369 million miles were covered.

It was the lowest number of miles traveled in a single year since records began in 1993.

Across the UK, it was a similar picture, with car journeys dropping 25%.

The DfT said the numbers were heavily influenced by the effects of the coronavirus, with travel restrictions being restricted in many months of last year.

In 2020, car journeys made up 80% of all road kilometers in Southend, with trucks and utility vehicles accounting for the remainder.

Total mileage for all traffic was 352 million miles, a 21% decrease from 447 million miles in 2019.

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Early government signs show that traffic could return to 2019 levels if the lockdown is eased.

And the RAC has announced that it has already seen an increase in vehicles on the road this year and is expecting a busy summer.

Nicholas Lyes, Head of Policy, said, “As traffic returns to near normal levels over the next few weeks and as the relaxation continues, we expect it will be a busy summer on the roads.”

However, the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, a group that represents the bus industry, is hoping people don’t get back to their cars.

The group wants the country to avoid “car-based recovery”. Instead, people should be encouraged to use public transport.

Google’s mobility data for the month ending April 30th shows that Southend public transport use is still 31 percent lower than when it was prepandemic.

Alison Edwards, UK Passenger Transport Policy Leader at the group, said: “This means ensuring that public transport does not lag behind other sectors of the economy in the ongoing social distancing review and ministers openly encouraging people to do so again get on buses and coaches.

“Without this, we will see major congestion slowing our economic recovery, along with deteriorating air quality and increased carbon emissions.”


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