Traffic drops 63% in downtown Toronto after latest COVID-19 measures

Jan 22 2021, 6:23 am

Traffic in downtown Toronto has dropped by 63% since the latest COVID-19 measures were implemented.

According to the City of Toronto, after the latest measures were put in place, Mayor John Tory requested regular traffic reports from staff in Transportation Services to see the real-time effect.

There are three key traffic monitoring measures City staff rely on including Travel Time Index to monitor traffic congestion, Watch Your Speed signs to anticipate traffic volume and traffic counting technology to count cars and pedestrians.

“The data confirms that vehicle traffic continues to be at its lowest observed levels since Stage 1 Reopening back in May and June 2020, but is still higher than conditions observed during the initial lockdown last spring,” the City said in a release.

“Traffic conditions in the first two days since additional restrictions were imposed by the Province (which came into effect on January 14, 2021) were similar to the days immediately preceding this period.”

In downtown Toronto, City staff uses traffic counting technology placed at select downtown intersections to monitor how people choose to make trips. This data shows that daily car traffic dropped to 44% of typical volumes during the first lockdown, climbed to 73% by the fall, and dropped again to 63% after the latest measures were introduced.

Pedestrian traffic “dropped significantly” since the first lockdown last spring – to 17% of typical volume. Numbers climbed to 30% in the fall and are now back down to 21% since the new lockdown orders have been put into place.

The traffic data aligns with Toronto Public Health’s confirmation earlier this week that non-identifying cell phone data, is showing a growing number of people spending time at home, similar to the March 2020 lockdown. From January 3 to 9, 2021, 82% of the population stayed home, closed to the first lockdown period which was at 87%.

The City said they will continue to monitor changes resulting from the recent additional restrictions over the coming weeks.

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