Flexible work arrangements are not sticking

Typical day: Motorists caught in a traffic jam in Singapore’s central business district. — Bloomberg

TRAFFIC volume on expressways hit around 95% of pre-Covid-19 levels in May, following the easing of most Covid-19 restrictions on April 26.

This was up from 90% in January, according to figures from the Land Transport Authority.

Motorists said traffic overall felt significantly heavier since the lifting of measures, which included allowing all employees to return to the office.

Previously, up to 75% of employees who could work remotely were allowed to go into the workplace. Between January and March, the threshold was 50%.

Singapore University of Social Sciences transport economist Walter Theseira said that as seen in other countries, traffic volumes often increased after government-mandated restrictions were eased.

“This suggests that early discussions about permanent changes to working patterns and travel patterns were based on a mistaken assumption that society would find it more efficient or more attractive to organise work differently,” he said.

Traffic congestion information provided by location technology company TomTom from February to mid-May gave more details on how people were moving around throughout the day.

The Straits Times considered weeks where there were no holidays for the comparison.

The data not only confirmed that there were more vehicles on the road in recent months, but also that the majority of motorists chose to travel at similar times in the morning. On typical weekday mornings, traffic builds up from 6am.

In February, it was observed that congestion started to ease from 7am.

In May, jams continued for an additional hour before improving.

This may be a result of motorists modifying their travel patterns, leaving earlier or later than they otherwise would to avoid the worst of the congestion. — The Straits Times/ANN

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traffic , Covid-19 , restrictions


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