15 Apr 20

Fleet efficiency benefits from COVID-19 lockdown

To every cloud a silver lining. Amid the terrible impact of the coronavirus outbreak, a significant decrease in traffic congestion is helping essential commercial vehicles to reach customers and make deliveries more quickly than in normal trading conditions.

Data released by telematics specialist Geotab reveals a significant increase in average speeds and decrease in time wasted at intersections since COVID-19 lockdown measures were introduced.

Urban traffic in seven major cities is now flowing at weekend speeds due to the absence of private cars and the grounding of non-essential business vehicles.

Traffic is now moving 20% faster in New York than prior to the coronavirus outbreak, at 21mph compared to 17.5mph. Over the same period San Francisco has seen average speeds rise by 19% to 20.9mph, and traffic is moving 17% faster in Washington DC at 20.8mph.

Connected car data

“Examining connected car datasets at the city level helps provide some clarity and understanding about what is happening in our communities during unprecedented times such as this,” said Mike Branch, Vice President of Data and Analytics at Geotab.

“With less traffic on the roads, commercial vehicles are able to travel through typically congested major cities in a more efficient way, allowing these essential drivers to get where they are going quicker. Now more than ever, commercial vehicle drivers are tasked with moving essential goods across the country to help ensure that U.S. citizens have access to necessities like groceries, toiletries and more.

North America impact

Across the US, commercial transport activity is now operating at 82% of pre-COVID-19 levels, although this figure plunges to 63% for the states of New York and New Jersey. North of the border in Canada, commercial transport activity is at 79% of normal levels, according to Geotab data.

These aggregate figures mask more fleet-specific differences – heavy duty trucks, for example, are still operating at 89% of pre-coronavirus levels, while commercial car use has fallen to 69% of normal business volumes. In a similar vein, grocery deliveries have been least impacted while commercial and industrial locations have seen the greatest drop in traffic volumes.

Images: Shutterstock and Geotab

Authored by: Jonathan Manning