Temporary Changes in Travel
Unsurprisingly, the volume of traffic on local roads has dropped. To start with, though, there was the
expected modest seasonal climb associated with late February & early March 2020. Volumes then
fell back on and after March 9th. This proved to be short-lived: between March 12th and March 16th,
stockpiling resulted in a steep climb. On and following March 17th, however, volumes reduced
After reaching a low point at the end of March 2020, volumes during April were broadly static. They
increased markedly in May 2020. Take estimates of the average afternoon peak traffic per hour
locally on the A494. Here, comparing the end of April to the first week in May 2020, volumes had
increased by a third, with a slight dip during the following week in May. The change in traffic locally
on the A494 during the third week of May compared to the corresponding week in April 2020 was an
increase of just over 100 per cent.
In spite of this significant rise, the span of the afternoon peak period in May 2020 had reduced. In
other words, it had become more concentrated. During “normal” times, it is common to see peak
traffic extend till after 6.30p.m. to accommodate residents returning from England-way. To late May
2020, however, traffic volumes after 5.30p.m. were considerably down and an hour later very
In May 2020, very localised traffic within Ruthin itself over this truncated afternoon peak period
increased by an estimated 200 per cent, compared to April 2020.
Meanwhile, the cost per litre of unleaded petrol has slumped. Initially, at least, this was something to
do with OPEC and Russia at a time of unprecedented falls in demand.
Unleaded started the year at £1.26 per litre and at press date had dropped to £1.06, the lowest
since March 2016.
Finally, Google produced anonymised mobility data at county rather than local level. The graph
below shows the changes in trips for groceries during March, April and up to May 16th, 2020
compared to a 2019 baseline.