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Vehicle Flow Reduction Due To Fuel Charges?

It looks like there could be a reduction in flows on the rural road network as a result of the rising fuel prices.

Recent graphs show 24hr flows from beginning of May up to 8th June. These come from the same sites which were used previously to report flow changes throughout the pandemic.

The combined flows at the four Urban locations appears very similar to flows in 2021 (apart from the recent Jubilee Bank Holidays). Whereas the combined flows at the six Rural locations are somewhat lower than in 2021.

Looking at the three days Mon 6th to Wed 8th June, Urban flows were down 0.25% compared with 2021. But the Rural flows over these three days was down 8.25%.

However ....Caution should be applied as it is a small sample and could change quickly, but it does suggest that people in rural areas could be reducing the number of car journeys they are making.

I believe that when fuel prices have risen sharply in the past there seemed to be a fairly quick reduction in journeys, but this picked up again as people accepted the need to pay more for their fuel. Admittedly, there may not have been the spike in inflation in the past which might affect people’s ability to afford the increase in fuel now.

Below are some other factors which could be affecting current traffic flows, especially when compared with 2021, and these might need to be borne in mind.

  • In May/June 2021 there were still some Covid19 restrictions on socialising and business operations

  • In 2022 there is still a proportion of the workforce working from home some or all of the time, so these people could be less affected by fuel price increases

  • The rising ownership of electric vehicles could potentially mask any reduction in journeys of petrol/diesel vehicles

  • The reduced frequency and inconsistency of bus transport could cause a reluctance to switch to public transport

Next months figures will be interesting as …… We will then have a better idea of any impact fuel increase is having.

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