Covid-19: Pandemic sees commercial vehicle traffic halve on European roads


Despite anecdotal evidence suggesting commercial vehicles levels remained reasonably high during coronavirus lockdowns across Europe, new data from Verizon Connect reveals that hours spent on the road by commercial drivers more than halved between mid-February and April.

Anonymous data from the Verizon Connect Reveal platform shows how initial lockdown measures impacted commercial vehicle usage both in the UK and across several European countries. Commercial drivers in France were hardest hit with recorded hours spent on the road dropping by 58% in the same time period, followed by the UK (55%) and Spain (54%).

The smallest reduction recorded was in Germany, which saw an 11% reduction in hours driven by commercial vehicles, a comparatively smaller impact to the average of 50% across seven European countries.

Additional data from the Verizon Connect Reveal platform also shows how commercial vehicle usage is starting to bounce back as national lockdown measures are gradually lifted across Europe.

Despite having the steepest decline in hours driven between mid-February and April, commercial vehicle usage in France has been the fastest to rebound. Data from April 7th to May 5th shows an increase of almost 200% in response to the easing of lockdown measures in the country.

The rate of recovery has been comparatively slower in the UK and Ireland, which saw hours increase 22% and 24% respectively in the same period.

“Fleet-based businesses play a crucial role supporting almost every industry, the dramatic drop in hours driven just demonstrates the widespread impact that Covid-19 has had on economies across Europe,” says Derek Bryan, VP EMEA at Verizon Connect. “But the positive is that the data shows green shoots for fleet industries, and economies starting to recover.

Derek Bryan, Vice President of Sales, Verizon Connect
Photo Johnny Bambury / Fennell Photography

“As businesses begin to scale up operations again, health and safety of all staff is paramount. Fleet managers not only need technology to support them to keep track of employees’ safety, but also to provide the right intelligence at the right time, so they can make informed decisions which will pay dividends in the future. Fleet management technology that harnesses machine learning and big data both helps in efforts to track and trace drivers and vehicles, can be used to track whether safety protocols are followed and provides insights that will help managers to successfully scale up their operations.”

Some of the commercial vehicle figures are outlined below:

Change (%) in hours driven February 18th – April 7th 2020 Change (%) in hours driven February 18th – May 5th 2020 Representative growth

April 7th – May 5th 2020

France -58% 57% 198%
Italy -39% -15% 62%
Spain -54% -36% 33%
Portugal -39% -24% 38%
Germany -11% 1% 109%
UK -55% -43% 22%
Ireland -41% -31% 24%



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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).