Traffic volume reductions on Clarke Road in north-eastern London, Ontario continue to demonstrate the effect that the Corona Virus has on the functioning of our society. This site has been monitored for the past 10 years and a number of articles have been posted on its characteristics including traffic volumes. The current data was obtained between 1530 and 1730 hours on March 27, 2020.
For the two-hour, videotaping session the total number of observed northbound vehicles was 579, and southbound vehicles were 372, or a total of 951 vehicles for both directions. During this time 24 northbound trucks and 27 southbound trucks were observed, or a total of 51 trucks for both directions. This leads to the observation that the percentage of truck traffic was only 5.36 %.
Comparison to Previous Years
Traffic volume data is available from the years 2009 and 2019 for the half hour between 1600 and 1630 hours. Thus if we select the same time for the March 27, 2020 session we can compare the results to the previous years.
The table below shows the northbound traffic volume results of four videotaping sessions in the fall of 2009 and four videotaping sessions in the fall of 2019. In the last column we have included the results from the latest session in March 27, 2020. As one can see the reduction in traffic volume in the March 27th session is substantial.
A similar table is shown below for all southbound traffic from the same videotaping sessions. Once again the reduction in traffic volume is large.
Next, in the table below, we provide a break-down of just the truck data. This table is for northbound trucks only.
Next is the truck data for southbound trucks.
The data from all nine videotaping sessions are summarized in table below. The cells in this table show, for the half-hour time between 1600 and 1630 hours, the average number of vehicles, both northbound and southbound, that passed through the site. So, for example, in the four sessions from 2009 the average number of non-trucks passing through the site was 234.5 vehicles, in 2019 that average rose to 370.25, but then it dropped in the single 2020 session to just 188 vehicles. A similar comparison is shown for truck traffic.
Thus the total reduction in non-truck traffic between 2019 and 2020 was 49.2%. And for truck traffic the reduction was 56.5%.
Comparison With Highway 401 Sessions At Westminster Drive Overpass
In an article posted earlier this week Gorski Consulting provided data with respect to traffic volume reductions on Highway 401 just south-west of London, Ontario. A summary of that data, collected on March 25, 2020 at the Westminster Drive interchange, in shown in the table below and it is compared to two other sessions conducted in 2018.
Again we see some large reductions in both total traffic and truck traffic compared to the 2018 data.
The results from these traffic observations are not surprising given the recent necessity that the general public remain at home and refrain from travelling due to the rapid spread of the Corona virus. Reductions in traffic volume approaching 50%, and perhaps more, seem to exist at the two sites where Gorski Consulting has made observations. It remains to be seen how these changes will affect road safety. With less vehicles on the road one would think that collision numbers should be reduced. Yet a smaller effect might occur when certain drivers, recognizing less interference, increase their vehicle speeds.
Even in this very short period of two or three weeks of social isolation the numbers of serious collisions being reported in the news media in Southern Ontario appear to be reduced. This unofficial observation may be supplemented in the near future with actual, official statistics and then we will see if this observation holds true.