Spike in suburban road use as community shifts from public transport

The University of South Australia has presented research showing and increase in private vehicle use in suburbia, as commuters begin to work from home.

UniSA urban planner Dr. Andrew Allan says there has been a marked decrease in traffic congestion in the city as people transition to home working, with a spike in car use in the suburbs.

The increase of people moving around the suburbs has prompted Dr. Allan to encourage an increase in daily activity for those no longer commuting.

“We need to find a way to encourage people to incorporate exercise into their daily routine, whether it’s a walk around their neighbourhood, in a park, or a daily cycle, while still maintaining the social distance measures of 1.5 metres,” Mr. Allan said.

“This will help compensate for the activity that people normally do, such as walking to and from the bus stop, around their office and a stroll outside at lunch time. It’s crucial we still find time to exercise.”

He said inner city residents have more walkable neighbourhoods but people living in the outer suburbs may be more inclined to stay in doors.

There has also been a decrease in shared mobility services in Adelaide reflecting the downturn in CBD foot traffic.

While the suburban road grid handles increased traffic, Mr. Allan said it will be a key challenge for government, once the crisis eases, to encourage people back to public transport.

“An interim measure could be to have only one person per seat, and to ban standing. To avoid people having to press buttons, drivers could automatically stop at every pickup and set down point,” he said.

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