Has COVID-19 rekindled Europe's love affair with the car?
Countries across Europe are relying on road transport more than ever in the aftermath of coronavirus lockdowns. As economies re-open, data from traffic analyst INRIX has revealed how the number of vehicle miles travelled (VMT) now exceeds pre-pandemic levels in 16 of 19 European countries.
Belgium, Ireland and the UK were the only three to see their traffic volumes lag behind pre-COVID levels.
At the height of the crisis, VMT in Spain had fallen to just 12% of normal levels, but in July it had recovered to 116%.
The widespread rise in traffic volumes will cause alarm among politicians and transport planners who had hoped that the pandemic would lead to lower emission, more sustainable travel, particularly walking and cycling.
INRIX delivers anonymised vehicle speed and location reporting, based on hundreds of millions of trips per day by private drivers, fleets and trucks in Europe and the US. The data helps fleet operators, cities and road authorities understand exactly what is happening on the roads.
Social distancing and fears over the spread of the virus in the confined spaces of public transport buses and trains appear to be leading more people to use cars for travel.
European Countries Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) Growth