In the last two weeks of December, traffic in Moscow traditionally gets worse, as everyone rushes to buy New Year gifts. Shoppers are more likely to use their private vehicles. On the last business day of the year, 30 December, traffic will become much lighter, and by the night of Saturday, 31 December, Moscow streets will be almost empty.
Last year, there were about 3.54 million vehicles on the roads in Moscow as of mid-December. During next to last week (21-25 December), their number grew to 3.63 million. From 28 to 31 December, the average number of vehicles began to decline sharply, reaching 2.96 million on 31 December. This was due to the fact that many people take the last days of the year off. Thus, Moscow streets have to handle three percent more vehicles in the busiest period.
According to statistics, vehicles with regional license plates make up more than half the total in Moscow. This suggests that city residents often opt for public transit to get around.
This December, the situation will be similar. However, the number of vehicles in the streets may grow by five percent. There will be more traffic jams after 15 December, peaking on 26-29 December and followed by a gradual decline. On 31 December, congestion can be expected only near large stores and shopping centres.
“Traffic will truly be a problem in Moscow in the last two weeks of December,” Vadim Yuryev, head of the Moscow Government’s Traffic Management Centre, said. “People tend to begin their New Year shopping and get around the city using their private vehicles. As such, Moscow is expected to experience traffic issues, particularly around shopping centres and large stores. Weather is an important factor, and should be kept in mind as well. The number of accidents increases dramatically when it snows. Snowstorms and ice lead to more accidents, which further complicate the traffic situation. If motorists choose to use public transit on snowy days, the city will be much better off.”