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Since the safer-at-home order was issued in Mar. because of the coronavirus pandemic, fewer motorists have been seen out on the road. One alarming thing that has not changed, however, is speed, which has not decreased, according to a staff report to the city’s Transportation Advisory Commission.
In order to determine the actual impacts on traffic patterns, the department reportedly initiated a study to monitor traffic volumes, speeds, and collisions. Per that study, traffic dropped by about 55% at the beginning of the lockdown and has steadily increased every month since the order was lifted. By June, the decrease was down to 25%, and it now remains at a 10% reduction.
Though nearly one million Californians will suddenly lose their unemployment benefits on the day after Christmas, meaning unemployment is still rampant, traffic volumes were only 10% higher compared to the same time last year before the pandemic. The California Policy Lab reportedly estimated 750,000 Californians will lose benefits without a new relief package. However, that number could easily top one million due to the latest shutdown.
Once the order began, average traffic speed increased by 2 mph and motorists traveling 10 mph above the posted speed limit increased by approximately 60%, compared to the same period in 2019. Drivers began to slow down after the city implemented traffic calming measures at the end of Apr. Now, motorists traveling 10 mph above the posted speed limit is about the same as in 2019.
According to the report, traffic collisions have remained in line with the changes in traffic volume, which decreased by 65% compared to the same period in 2019, and increasing as the order was relaxed. Collisions are still about 25% below 2019 numbers. Once the safer-at-home order was implemented, pedestrian and bicycle collisions decreased by about 90% compared to 2019, and still remain below 2019 numbers. Moreover, DUI collisions have decreased by about 10% compared to last year.
In Pasadena, there were three fatal and 16 severe injury collisions in 2019, and two fatal and nine severe injury collisions in 2020 over the seven-month period. Out of 200 cities, Allstate ranked Pasadena as the 187th safest city to drive in the U.S.’ most populous cities.
For the study, the Department of Transportation obtained traffic data from the Streetlight software platform and the city’s collision database. As part of the study, traffic volume and speed data were monitored at 12 street segments representing arterials and major collectors. In the report, the Department said it would “continue to monitor trends in traffic volumes, speeds and collisions to make informed decisions on outreach, engineering and operations enhancements to the multimodal network.”