This is how much time the UK has saved by not commuting since the pandemic began

By Vehicle Contracts23-09-2021

This is how much time the UK has saved by not commuting since the pandemic began 

For those who were able to work from home in the Covid-19 pandemic, you’ve likely saved yourself some serious time and money.

Vehicle Contracts have used data from the Department for Transport to calculate the time saved by commuters during the national lockdowns. We’ve looked at the three lockdown periods as well as from when the restrictions were introduced in March 2020 to when the country reopened in July 2021.

Brits saved ten days on average not commuting in the pandemic 


Working days

Hours saved commuting

Days saved commuting

National lockdowns




1st lockdown to end of lockdown




With the average estimated commute time for England’s residents at 60 minutes in 2020 and 61 minutes in 2021, workers saved nearly ten days commuting in the three national lockdowns.


According to ONS data, 25.9% of people worked from home at some point in 2020. With 56.5 million people living in England, 14.6 million people worked from home during lockdown - that’s a saving of 143.5 million days saved commuting.


If you didn’t return to work from when the first lockdown was announced in March 2020 until all the lockdown restrictions were lifted in July 2021, you saved over 14 days - 339 hours.

Lockdowns cut 12.2 million cars from England’s roads daily


Using the lockdown rates above, it’s estimated that lockdown reduced daily cars on the road by 12.2 million. According to the Department for Transport, 84% of commuters travel to work by car in the UK, meaning the number of cars on the roads dropped significantly.


The reduction of cars on our roads helped to significantly reduce the CO2 produced. Transportation is the leading contributing factor to the UK’s CO2, producing 122 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2019. So, the drop in cars on the roads will have had some positive environmental benefits too.

Every region in England saved over a week commuting


Check out the average commute for each region in England along with the days saved in the three national lockdowns:




Average daily commute (minutes)

 Days saved commuting 






South East

West Midlands




North West








Yorkshire & the Humber

East Midlands

South West




North East



Londoners saved 15 days commuting in national lockdowns


With the average Londoner spending 92 minutes commuting each day, they saved a whopping 15 days thanks to England's lockdowns. That’s three working weeks worth of travelling.


It’s not only time they saved, but also money. A London Travelcard for all zones is £64.20 a week, giving a saving of over £3,000 for tube commuters for the weeks in lockdown.

The South East & West Midlands avoided 217 hours commuting in lockdown


Following London, the South East and West Midlands avoided nearly an hour each day commuting to work - commuters saved over nine days in total. 


With a population of over nine million in the South East and nearly six million in the West Midlands, the two regions saved 35 million days based on the ONS figure of 25.9% working from home.

The North East has the shortest commutes but still saved 7 and a half days


If you’re looking for a short commute to work, the North East is where you should be. The region has an average daily commute of 46 minutes - half the time of London. 


North East residents who didn’t travel to work in the national lockdowns still saved seven and a half days.

England lockdown dates


England has had three national lockdowns since the pandemic began:


23 March 2020 - 4 July 2020
31 October 2020 - 2 December 2020
4 January 2021 - 19 July 2021



Using 2020 data from the Department for Transport, we calculated the time saved commuting for working days during the three national lockdowns as well as from the first lockdown until when all restrictions were lifted. Local lockdowns were not included. 


Lockdown dates were from the initial announcement through to when the majority of restrictions were lifted and people were able to return to work.