In cities around the globe, the pandemic has led to a radical downturn in automobile traffic as drivers stay at home. On 10 April in the five counties of New York City, for example, estimated vehicle miles traveled were down between 78 per cent and 92 per cent from January volumes, according to Streetlight, a mobility data company. In Denver, driving is down an estimated 75 per cent. In Houston, 66 per cent. In Miami, 72 per cent. In Chicago, 68 per cent.
The empty streets of the world’s cities, however, have in many cases presented a seemingly irresistible temptation for speed-happy drivers. Writing in CityMetric, Sarah Goodyear reports on some of the early numbers emerging from major cities amid a seismic shift in global traffic patterns. In many places, crashes are down substantially, but increases in speeding behaviour mean that the collisions that are occurring are increasingly deadly.