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Data highlights Covid-19 effect on traffic: ARRB

Covid-19 restrictions have had a significant effect on reducing traffic, while heavy vehicle volumes on the Monash have stayed almost identical pre-coronavirus levels, according to the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB).

Victorians are complying with the restrictions on movement, including working from home and limiting non-essential travel, the ARRB has suggested, with reference to the latest transport data.

ARRB's National Transport Performance Centre has also found a major reduction in congestion on Melbourne's Monash Freeway of between 88 and 95 per cent for weekday peak periods.

This reduction in congestion, according to ARRB, has been achieved off a much smaller reduction in traffic numbers – just 28 per cent fewer vehicles using the Monash during this tine, so slightly less vehicles has led to a significantly increased flow of traffic.

ARRB claims these impacts will be similar in most major capital cities of Australia following Covid-19 restrictions.

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

“The transport data gives us some clear insight, but the big question is where to from here given what this data is showing us.

“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? Perhaps work from home staggered across the workforce for one or two days a week.

“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,” he said.

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

ARRB said it is able to work with all levels of government, and the private sector, on ways to better improve Australians’ mobility and shape the country's post-Covid-19 transport future.

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