ARRB data shows significant traffic reduction in wake of COVID-19

COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns have had a significant effect on reducing traffic and pedestrian movement, according to the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB).

Latest transport data suggests Victorians are complying with the restrictions on movement, including working from home and limiting non-essential travel.

Following the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions, transport data collected by ARRB’s National Transport Performance Centre shows:

  • Significant drop-off in foot traffic of up to 83 per cent in major Melbourne CBD areas
  • Major reduction in congestion on Melbourne’s Monash Freeway of between 88 per cent and 95 per cent for weekday peak periods
  • This reduction in congestion has been achieved off a much smaller reduction in traffic numbers – just 28 per cent less vehicles using the Monash during this time, so slightly less vehicles has led to a significantly increased flow of traffic.
  • Heavy vehicle volumes on the Monash have stayed almost identical to pre-COVID-19 levels, so freight movements are similar to, or have slightly increased in the wake of the restrictions.


According to ARBB Chief Executive Officer Michael Caltabiano, ARRB believes these impacts will be similar across most major Australian capital cities.

“The COVID-19 shutdown offers a critical opportunity for Victoria to understand and deal with its transport issues before life eventually returns to normal,” he said.

Mr. Caltabiano said that while ARRB’s transport data provides clear insights, the question now is: where to from here?

“We need to take this opportunity to reimagine now what a post-COVID-19 back-to-work should look like. Do we take the opportunity to change the way in which are freeways are used? Can we reimagine the work people do?” Mr. Caltabiano said.

“There is also now an opportunity to better understand the choices people make before they get back into their cars and spend hours a day on congested roads.”

Using this data, ARRB’s National Transport Performance Centre is working on ways to better understand what a back-to-work scenario would look like for Melburnians and Victorians.

To read the full report click here.

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