Over the last year and a half, the UK government has presented a series of findings to keep the public informed about the response to the pandemic. Whilst some of these metrics have been consistent, such as cases, as with many metrics some have varied over time such as those reported on more recently, namely vaccinations and variants.
When the country first entered into a lockdown, there was a focus on transport and traffic, with stark differences between pre and post March 2020. With the upcoming lifting of restrictions planned and with it, the return to offices and commuting for many, it is interesting to revisit these metrics.
Immediately after the shocking announcement of Lockdown #1, there was a dramatic, never before seen impact on travel. Nobody boarded a bus or train and cars were rarely seen on the road. However, with people staying more local to their homes, and as the weather improved, there was an increase in those taking long walks and cycling.
Over the summer, the pre-pandemic transport trends started to return. COVID-19 cases were dropping, and the British public were encouraged to venture out again. So, we all got off our bicycles and back into our cars. Alas, this was not to last… Later on in 2020, a combination of colder weather, darker nights and the threat of new COVID-19 variants (with no immediate sign of a vaccine) meant that usage of all modes of transport reduced again throughout Lockdown #2, the Christmas period, and into the beginning of 2021.
As we entered into Lockdown #3, with the rise in vaccination levels, lighter nights and some restrictions having eased, all transport activity had begun to recover. Once the restriction of working from home for many is lifted, it will be interesting to see what impact this has on the UK transport network. Levels of road traffic have already returned to pre-pandemic levels. The only key transport area that hasn’t yet seen a recovery is the rail network. With many workers set to return to their city-based offices, this will also undoubtedly return to a familiar level.
This is one of many metrics that tells the story of the impact of the pandemic. The data perspective clearly highlights the true consequences that COVID-19 has had and continues to have on the transport sector, as well as public behaviour regarding both retail and the office, the wider economy and the environment. True insight is unlocked as we start to look across all of these different data perspectives to understand where the patterns are, the stories they tell and how we can learn from them.
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Data and insight Lead
Dave is a seasoned practitioner in building innovative BI strategies for data-driven, value-adding business insight. He is a veteran in architecting, planning & managing the delivery of BI, data & analytical solutions, to client requirements, either on-premise or via cloud technologies.
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