More countries are now coming out of lockdown and having to adjust to the “new normal”. Schools, offices, malls and shops are opening after months of being shut-down. Choosing how to travel now can not only potentially save your live, but even help transform the future of the transportation industry.
From the beginning of the lockdown, the use of public transport has lessened due to the fear of being exposed to COVID-19.The numbers of passengers on buses and trains fell to approximately 10% and 8% of their pre-pandemic levels, respectively. Luckily, private car usage ,even though less than before pandemic, is slowly rising since it is considered as being safer and less congested.
Credit: Department for Transport
Changes in transport usage
Amidst the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that public transportation will be used much if at all for travel by most people. Cars make it easier to socially distance, thus there is a shift towards the consumer’s behaviour towards their usage, especially after the lockdown ended. Unluckily, car manufacturers have been forced to shut down their operations in the most of their production plants. This will not help the rising demand in cars, which may cause prices to rise leading in people opting to use alternative methods to travel.
Governments all across Europe have been trying to promote walking and cycling as an alternative to car travel. Cities are planning on expanding cycle lanes, tracks and pavements. The UK government has decided to use a £250 million fund to build this new infrastructure in their city centres. Increasing popularity in green transport such as electric bikes, electric scooters and so on are drastically increasing due to their convenience and numerous benefits.
What does the future look like?
The changes seen during the lockdown can be long-term and permanent, as people will be more aware of the reduced noise pollution and smog that was previously seen due to motorised vehicles. The world has become calmer and started repairing itself from the damage done by us and our inventions. Cities have become quieter, there is no rush or traffic.
It may seem that going the environment friendly path can be the best option for everyone. However, public transportation will take a massive hit that may reduce public funds in the future. and their failure will starve them of public funds for the near future. The privatization of more vehicles may lead to more traffic and congestion, if it is not overseen properly.
To maintain the social distancing, walking and cycling has become preferable. The local councils are looking to invest in creating for clean and green spaces for their residents. Policies are being developed to maintain safety measures for electric vehicle users and pedestrians. Charging docks and parking spaces are allowing less clutter and more space for other modes of transportation.
The pandemic has changed a lot, especially the way we travel around. However, it may all be for the better. The new e-scooter trials in the UK can serve as an example of the drastic change. Although it is too early to tell whether or not it will succeed, there is hope among e-scooter aficionados that electric scooters will be the vehicles for the future.