- The Coronavirus lockdown in late March 2020 immediately resulted in much greater use of the Nickey Line than normal, with the widespread impression being gained of much higher numbers of users than any previously ever seen.
- Sample counts over the Harpenden to Redbourn Lane section in late April and early May appeared to confirm this, with projected usage apparently well above the base usage of 4,100 per week counted in early July 2013.
- To obtain a more definitive usage estimate, a ‘Whole Line’ survey was undertaken from 14th May till the month end. This was based on counts by Friends observers in different locations and times, plus reports from users of how many people they had seen using the Line in 30 minute periods whilst they were using the Line themselves in their normal exercise breaks from Lockdown.
Five Ways Users During Lockdown April 2020
Overall Usage Estimates for Individual Line Sections
- Daily usage over the individual Redbourn to Hemel Hempstead sections was estimated at about 300 uses per day but each section had missing observations in some hourly periods.
- Allowing for missed counts, we are probably looking at about 350 uses per day in each of these sections – some shared users from the ‘stream’ of users; some different users from ‘Local’ traffic.
- The Harpenden sections saw much higher volumes - with user traffic estimated at over 1,000 individual uses per day over these sections.
- N.B. These volumes are corrected for two way users so reflect the number of people using the Line, not just the numbers physically seen and reported by volunteers. People who used the line more than once a day, e.g. perhaps dog walkers, would be counted separately each time.
Overall Line User Estimates
- Allowing for statistical variation, the best overall weekly estimate of Nickey Line Lockdown usage is about 12,000 uses.
- This compares with the last record figure of base usage of 4,100 per week from July 2013, i.e. Lockdown usage was almost three times higher than any previously recorded usage.
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