Roads into downtown Calgary see up to a 64% decrease in traffic

Apr 15 2020, 1:58 pm

It goes without saying that road vehicle traffic in Calgary is currently down considerably based on anecdotal evidence, but new data provided by the municipal government confirms this.

The City of Calgary’s permanent vehicle count stations show physical distancing and self-isolation measures, coupled with the closure of schools and non-essential businesses, have led to a dramatic decrease in traffic across all transportation modes.

The average change in weekly weekday volumes is 54% during the week of March 30 compared to the first week of March.

The Bow Trail is usually a key route in and out of the city centre, but it is now seeing a 64% decrease in weekday traffic with many office employees now working from home.

Significant decreases of 60%, 51%, and 45% have also been experienced on Crowchild Trail, Deerfoot Trail, and Ogden Road, respectively, while 17 Avenue SE has seen the least decline at only a 36% reduction.

Weekday and weekend volumes are becoming more similar in general, particularly in residential areas.

But traffic patterns have seen less change on roads that serve industrial areas, with many businesses still continuing to operate deliveries during the pandemic.

“The consistent flow of trucking traffic along Calgary’s road network further emphasizes the importance of supply chains to Calgary’s essential businesses and Calgarians as a whole,” reads the city report.

Taxis and ridehailing volumes have also decreased since the start of March; there were 256,000 taxi and ridehailing trips from March 1 to 7 and 199,000 trips from March 29 to April 4 in 2019, but over the same periods in 2020 there were 215,000 boardings for the first period and just 42,000 periods for the second period.

With the public transit system, bus and C-Train ridership plummeted by 80% as of the third week of March.