SD&G sees ‘substantial’ drop in traffic as people work from home

County Road 34 near Alexandria, Ont. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SD&G – With more people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s showing up in the numbers of cars and trucks on county roads.

An informal count by county workers in early April shows traffic volumes were down an average of 46.5 per cent.

“The county has seen a substantial decrease in traffic. It should be noted that these values are unadjusted for time of year – they are for information and interest only,” states a report for today’s (Thursday) county council meeting.

Staff took counts over the first few weeks this month (April) on County Roads 2, 7, 31, 34 and 43.

The typical daily volume at the 16 observation points would be a total of 78,000. During the survey this month it was 42,163.

Coun. Kirsten Gardner (South Dundas) said this may be one of the positives that comes out of the coronavirus pandemic as people may be more inclined to telecommute during winter storms. “Potentially, we may see a trend where people are more able and willing to stay home when a big snow event comes down the pike.”

Coun. Tony Fraser (North Dundas) believes the numbers might be “slightly skewed” because people from the Ottawa area have been pouring into North Dundas to shop, similar to the problems Glengarry County has been experiencing with people from Quebec. “They’re higher than they truly would be if we didn’t have that type of migration.”

The data is being sent to the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council Integrated, Intelligent Transportation Systems Working Group, which is studying the effect of broad remote work adaptation on infrastructure planning.