Roads across New Zealand have almost fallen silent since the countrywide lockdown came into force two weeks ago, new NZ Transport Agency figures confirm.
Weekly traffic counts at state highways in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin show traffic has fallen by around 75 per cent or more compared to the same time last year.
Traffic was measured in the five weekdays to April 3 - the first full working week after the alert level 4 lockdown started.
People stopped leaving their neighbourhoods except for essential travel and heavy traffic (vehicles over 11m, such as trucks) decreased as freight movement slowed.
The massive drop in traffic has already led to dramatic falls in pollution, particularly in the amount of dangerous nitrogen oxide.
A predicted fall in the road toll because of fewer drivers on the roads seems to be coming true as well. As of Tuesday88 people had died on New Zealand roads since January 1 - the lowest in at least five years. Last year 112 people had died by now. There had been 113 deaths at this date in 2018, 97 in 2017 and 95 in 2016.
How our cities compare
• Among the NZTA's main observations, Auckland traffic has fallen by 76 per cent compared to last year in the week to April 3, and there was a 66 per cent drop in light traffic and a halving of heavy traffic from the previous week.
The lockdown started about midnight on Wednesday March 25, so traffic for that week was already lower than normal.
• Wellington traffic was down 82 per cent on last year, with a 66 per cent drop in light traffic and 75 per cent in heavy traffic - partly affected by a road closure because of a crash).
• In Christchurch, traffic was down 77 per cent on last year, with a 61 per cent weekly drop in light traffic and heavy traffic 61 per cent down.
• Hamilton's traffic was down 74 per cent on a year ago, with a 63 per cent drop in light traffic in a week and 48 per cent for heavy traffic.
• Dunedin traffic was down 81 per cent on 2019, with a 64 per cent weekly drop in light traffic and a 55 per cent drop in heavy traffic.
The NZTA figures back up data released by tech giant Google, which has tracked the movements of people across the world during the Covid-19 crisis.
That data shows a sharp dive in New Zealanders' movements as the lockdown took effect.