“We are starting to have traffic congestion even during off-peak hours”

Road congestion makes up on average 30% more time to travel by car between a town in the urban area and the center of Bordeaux. This is one of the conclusions of an extensive survey carried out by the Observatory of Mobility and Life Rhythms of A’Urba, the Bordeaux-Aquitaine Urban Planning Agency.

The observatory analyzed travel times by car from Google Maps data between the town hall of Bordeaux and the town halls of the municipalities of its urban area (perimeter that covers a large part of the Gironde), in both direction, between 2017 and 2021. The results are calculated on the average of Tuesdays and outside of school holidays, and compared to the average time observed at three o’clock in the morning.

In 2021, in the morning rush hour (8 am), 56 minutes are needed, on average, to reach Bordeaux City Hall from the municipalities of its urban area and 51 minutes in the evening (5.30 pm) the other way. A difference explained by the “broader peak at night”, refers to Mireille Bouleau, urban planner and specialist in econometrics at A’Urba. Traffic generates 20 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening of additional travel time, compared to “empty” time, i.e. a third on average of the total travel time: 35% to Bordeaux in the morning and 29 % at night on the contrary.

The year 2021 marks a “return to pre-pandemic levels”

First observation in A’Urba: “in the morning, the average weather returns to the level of 2017” after a period of 2020-2021 interrupted by the pandemic. At night, it worsens because it is 4.5 minutes longer than in 2017. If we compare with 2019, the year before the pandemic and where the level of congestion increased, “there is only the morning rush hour in the inbound direction. in Bordeaux that travel times have not returned to their pre-crisis level. »

Between 7.30 am and 10 am, the situation was actually more congested in 2019 than in 2021. On the other hand, from outside to Bordeaux, the off-peak hours and the evening “counter-peak” were greater in 2021 than in 2019 Ditto. from Bordeaux: journey times during off-peak or peak hours, morning and evening, also exceeded their 2019 level.

“Although the health situation has not been fully restored”, the year 2021 marks a “return to pre-pandemic levels” the study notes. The monthly curves further show an increase in travel times from April to November. “The end of 2021, which can be considered as a return to normal in terms of health, marks a strong increase in travel times, especially in the morning. “We are also starting to have congestion in the off- peak hours, either in the morning or in the evening, observing the Mireille Bouleau, with particular congestion in the opposite direction, that is, at night in the direction entering Bordeaux, because there are more varied reasons for the trip , with leisure and shopping trips. »

“Teleworking doesn’t seem to be enough to make traffic flow more smoothly”

How to explain this rapid return to “pre-pandemic” traffic levels? If the pandemic has “caused an increase in teleworking, it has also generated disaffection [en 2021] for public transport in favor of car and bicycle”, underlines the study. “Travel times show that the phenomena are compensatory for each other, and teleworking does not seem to be enough to make it more fluid -traffic continues. »

Another sign of the low impact, at the moment, of teleworking: the differences between days of the week are small and little has changed. “Wednesday and Friday mornings are slightly lower than Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings in Bordeaux. In the other direction, the differences are smaller. The pandemic does not seem to have changed these rhythms of life. If teleworking does occur, it may not be widespread enough, or it may be distributed fairly evenly across different days of the week. This point contradicts a preconceived idea of ​​telework being emphasized on Mondays and Fridays. »

“Congestion is played at the crossings of the Garonne or at the entrance to Bordeaux”

“We also noticed major territorial differences,” Mireille Bouleau insists. “The situation is not all homogeneous throughout the consolidation. In the morning towards Bordeaux, we notice a more congested situation on the right bank and along the A62, with travel times increased by 20% or even 30% in five years Congestion is clearly at stake at the level of the Garonne crossings or at the entrance to Bordeaux at the level of boulevard Moga, and these black spots affect all these territories. On the contrary, there are territories where the situation is improving, particularly near the bypass sections converted to 2×3 lanes, such as Mérignac. Even in Cubzaguais, where we start with a very difficult situation, it seems to be better the things. “

At night in the direction of the returns, travel times increase for “everything east of the agglomeration, especially for the communities between Carbon-Blanc and Léognan, and throughout the A89. »

The icing on the cake: “in five years, there has been an increase in the variation of traffic hours”, the town planner pointed out. “This means that there are terrible days, with uncertainty about increasing travel times. The growing uncertainty plays a big role in the feelings of motorists. »

If almost no progress can be seen, at least for the next few months, at least we can note that the average travel speed varies between 14 and 19 km / h in the morning for municipalities of the heart of the integration, ” the bicycle, for these municipalities, is relevant and can be competitive with the car. »

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