Lockdown's end did not bring back traffic jams; High petrol prices likely cause
The relaxation of coronavirus restrictions did not result in busy roads and traffic jams in the Netherlands. It remains exceptionally quiet on the roads, Flitsmeister and ANWB said to AD. The skyrocketing fuel prices may be behind this development, they said.
Last week was the first typical working week since the Cabinet scrapped most of the coronavirus restrictions on February 25. But there were only a handful of traffic jams on Dutch roads, Flitsmeister said. The 2.2 million Flitsmeister app users covered a total of 203 kilometers between March 7 and 13, almost the same as the 204 kilometers in the same week in February before the Covid-19 measures disappeared.
The number of traffic jams was also limited. On Thursday, March 10 - the busiest day of the week, morning traffic peaked at 814 minutes of delay and evening rush hour at 1,080. Pre-pandemic traffic on the same day averaged at 1,690 minutes of delay in morning rush hour and 2,190 minutes in the evening - twice as much.
The results surprised Fltismeister director Jorn de Vries. "To the left or right, an increase in the number of kilometers driven and the traffic intensity should be noticeable. After all, virtually all the coronavirus measures have been abolished." He thinks the high petrol price may be behind the quiet roads. "That can stop some motorists." Another possibility is that people continue to work from home because that's their new normal, he said.
Travelers' association ANWB also remarked that the roads were unusually quiet. "There are hardly any traffic jams due to busyness on the roads," Edwin Gerritsen said to the newspaper. "Only somewhat in Rotterdam and Brabant. But on the Amsterdam ring road, for example, all traffic jams are still gone. The delays that do occur are often caused by a truck that has broken down or an accident."
"In September and October last year, when few coronavirus measures were in force, it was busy on the road, with quite a lot of traffic jams. We don't see that now," he continued. The ANWB also thinks the high petrol prices may be a factor.