All of the recent indicators suggest that road traffic volumes are steadily returning to pre-lockdown levels but, on top of that return to normal, researchers have estimated that there could soon be more than a million extra cars on the road as a result of Covid-19.
The research carried out by the Active Travel Academy (ATA), a group based at Westminster University, has found that fears over catching the virus coupled with the restrictions to public transport could result in a surge in private travel. It found that traffic could increase by seven per cent during rush hour alone.
Backing up this research and highlighting the gap in available public transport, National Rail estimates that its capacity is just 10-13% of normal levels, while Transport for London capacity is down to 15% of normal, both because of the need for social distancing measures.
The research highlighted that, according to the RAC foundation, 15.3m people across England and Wales drive to work every day. In rural areas 73% of people drive to work, with 67% of people driving to work in cities outside of London. Even in London, where ATA estimates car use could rise by 22%, driving is the most common form of commuting with 30% using their own vehicles.
Combined with recent warnings from the insurance industry that accident rates are likely to increase as drivers get back into their cars for the first time in months, for the bodyshop and credit hire industry, this sounds like reasonably good news.