Agero’s analysis of vehicle breakdown volume offers look at “new normal” traffic during pandemic
MEDFORD, Mass. – June 17, 2020 – Agero, which delivers driver assistance services for more vehicles than any other provider in North America, today released breakdown data suggesting a rapid increase in traffic volumes as states relax existing COVID-19 restrictions. Daily breakdown averages dropped precipitously after March 17th, when San Francisco began the country’s first announced stay at home order. Since then, daily average volume has rebounded and continues to climb to figures nearing those of early March, growing at a weekly rate over four times faster than the same period in 2019.
Historically a highly predictable metric, average vehicle traffic has now become increasingly difficult to pinpoint in the face of the global pandemic. It is possible volumes across every district in the U.S. may take weeks or months to return to previous numbers. However, the research into vehicle breakdown rates, which strongly correlate to traffic patterns, indicates that a confluence of factors (possibly including pent up demand, low gas prices, warmer weather and concern over public transportation) is driving overall volume to quickly match, or perhaps even exceed, historical figures in many cities.
“The pandemic has certainly disrupted traditional traffic patterns,” says Beth Davidson, Agero’s chief marketing officer. “The typical rush hour commute has disappeared, errands are no longer relegated to Saturday morning, and road trips are becoming the new plane ride. But as states continue to ease stay at home orders, we’re seeing breakdown event volumes rapidly return to near-normal levels as people begin to use their vehicles again. We believe this could be the start of far higher traffic volumes than we are used to seeing.”
Traffic Data Insights Agero has identified the following trends over the past three months based on breakdown event analysis:
- The “new normal” is nearly normal. As of June 10, the last seven-day period shows roadside event volume down just 5% from forecasted figures, and continued bounce back beyond last year’s figures is expected.
- Easter Sunday was a turning point. The average daily number of roadside events decreased by 32% between the first two and a half weeks of March and the period from March 17th to Easter Sunday (April 12th). Since then, average daily events have shown a greater than 30% increase through June 10th (compared with the period prior to Easter).
- Summer volume growth now outpaces last year. Between the week of April 12 and the first week of June, volume shot up at an average of 4% each week. Last year’s typical beginning-of-summer seasonal uptick showed average volume growing by under 1% weekly.
- Another reason to dread Mondays. Consistent with historical trends, Mondays continue to represent the highest volume of breakdown events (approximately 20%) over the course of the week.
- Breakdown volume in major metros varies. Actual metro by metro volume averages, compared to forecasts, from March 1 to June 10, vary widely. Atlanta (-22%), New York (-18%) and San Antonio (-20%), for instance, have seen more cumulative impact than Boston (-6%) and Detroit (-11%). Meanwhile, Chicago (+7%) exceeded predictions for the time period due to very rapid volume growth following the pre-Easter downturn.
As more people drive and fewer fly this summer, motorists should check their roadside protection plans and become familiar with what is covered and how to request help – many people are covered through their auto insurance policy, vehicle warranty or even their credit card benefits. With vehicles having been sitting for extended periods, or used only infrequently over the last several weeks, battery, tire and oil issues could be likely: jump starts today constitute one-fifth of all service requests, up 5 percentage points compared to last year, while requests for tows have grown by 6 percentage points between the first week of April to the last week of May. Consumers can easily check policy details or request help by going online or installing the mobile apps provided by the companies they do business with. Considering nearly 30% of consumers don’t realize they can get assistance no matter where they are located, preparation is key to saving time and money.
As a leading motor club in North America supporting more than 115 million vehicles, Agero provides critical and potentially life-saving assistance for approximately 12 million breakdown and accident events annually. With a managed national network of over 8,000 individual tow and roadside companies, and access to tens of thousands more, Agero serves 100 percent of zip codes in the U.S., supporting two-thirds of new vehicles on the road and servicing two-thirds of the top auto insurers.
Separately this morning, Agero also announced it has purchased the assets of competitor Road America from MAPFRE Asistencia. Already covering millions of vehicles in partnership with leading auto manufacturers, insurance providers and other varied clients, including Ford, Toyota, USAA and Progressive, Agero will now take over roadside and accident support for Road America’s 100 U.S.-based insurance, auto reseller, fleet, RV and other client programs.
Agero’s mission is to rethink the roadside experience through a powerful combination of passionate people and data-driven technology, strengthening its clients’ relationships with their customers. As a leading B2B provider of next-gen driver assistance services, Agero is pushing the industry in a new direction, taking manual processes and redefining them as digital, transparent and connected. This includes: a transformative roadside event management platform powered by Swoop, a San Francisco based software company acquired in 2018; comprehensive accident management services; knowledgeable consumer affairs and connected vehicle capabilities; and intuitive tow dispatch software.
The company protects 115 million vehicles in partnership with leading automobile manufacturers, insurance carriers and other diversified clients. Managing one of the largest national networks of service providers, Agero responds to approximately 12 million service events annually. Agero, a member company of The Cross Country Group, is headquartered in Medford, Mass., with operations throughout North America and Europe. To learn more, visit www.agero.com.
PR Manager, Agero