Ottawa traffic volume drops to 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels during January lockdown
A highway sign notifies drivers to stay-home as they make their way along the Queensway in Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
OTTAWA -- There are fewer cars on Ottawa's roads this winter, as Ontario's COVID-19 stay-at-home order encourages people to stay home except for essential reasons.
According to traffic data provided by the City of Ottawa, traffic volumes on arterial roads have dropped to 60 per cent of pre-COVID volumes during the month of January.
Traffic volumes on Ottawa roads had dropped to 50 per cent of pre-COVID volumes in early April, and climbed to 85 per cent of pre-COVID-19 volumes in December.
The Ontario government imposed a lockdown on Ottawa and all of southern Ontario on Dec. 26, which included the closure of all non-essential businesses and asking workplaces to allow staff to work from home. On Jan. 14, Ontario announced a stay-at-home order, asking people to leave their homes only for essential reasons.
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, the city said it has been collecting traffic data at several arterial intersections across the city on a regular basis since March 2020.
"The data indicated that traffic volumes had returned to 85 per cent of pre-COVID volumes in December 2020, prior to the provincial stay-at-home order which started on Dec. 26," said Phil Landry, Director of Traffic Services.
"In January 2021, traffic volumes have dropped to 60 per cent of pre-COVID volumes."
Apple's Mobility Trends Report shows requests for walking and driving directions in Ottawa on the Apple Maps app have declined during the COVID-19 lockdown.
On Tuesday, Jan. 26, requests for driving directions on Apple Maps was 23 per cent below baseline, while requests for walking directions was 28 per cent below baseline.
On Jan. 14, the first day of Ontario's stay-at-home order, requests for driving directions were 36 per cent below baseline, while requests for walking directions were 35 per cent below baseline.
On Dec. 23, 2020, three days before the lockdown began, requests for driving directions on Apple Maps was 9.57 per cent above baseline, while requests for walking directions were 1.24 per cent below baseline.
In December, requests for driving and walking directions in Ottawa spiked on Dec. 11, with requests for driving directions at 11 per cent above the baseline level.
Requests for transit directions on the Apple Maps app have remained at more than 70 per cent below normal since the start of the lockdown on Boxing Day.
Apple’s Mobility Trends Report looks at requests for directions using Apple Maps on devices during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data is compared to a baseline volume of requests set on Jan. 13, 2020.