Advisory travel restrictions as the UK ramped up its coronavirus response last week saw only small drops in city centre traffic, with a reduction in cars of just 15 percent.
Pedestrian numbers fell by less than one-third – just 30 percent.
Numbers of larger motor vehicles, such as delivery vans and goods vehicles, were unaffected by the government’s advice, but there was a 13 percent drop in cycles on the road and 15 percent in motorcycles.
The figures have been compiled by artificial intelligence and traffic data specialist Vivacity Labs, against a baseline week starting on 3 February.
By Sunday 22 March, there had been a 45 percent reduction in the number of pedestrians on city streets compared with the previous week, but only a 28 percent drop in social interactions in which people came within two metres of each other.
The latter finding came from the company’s network of 78 sensors in Oxford.
The data proves that while many people are following government advice and staying at home, those who are still venturing out are not adopting social distancing measures. This creates countless opportunities for the virus to spread.
To combat this, the government will have little choice but to impose even stricter controls to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed as infections spread throughout the population.
The findings will be alarming for everyone battling to contain the pandemic. Indeed, they demonstrate the need for Whitehall to have forced citizens and businesses to comply with restrictions much earlier than they did.
Vivacity Labs runs a network of 3,000 sensors throughout the country and applies AI, machine learning, and computer vision technologies to live, anonymous transport data.
It has been monitoring road and pedestrian traffic via sensors in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Bedford, Peterborough, Hereford, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, and on the M32.
Peter Mildon, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, said, “Vivacity Labs provides hyper-local data on how roads are being used.
“These sensors offer government an opportunity to monitor compliance with new requests, such as the two-metre social distancing rule, without impacting civil liberties or requiring an unprecedented increase in government access to mobile phone data.”
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