The current lockdown has got many people talking about how we might adapt our travel once restrictions are lifted. There has been some extremely positive news in terms of reductions in air pollution, however, even the most ardent climate campaigner would not expect people to adhere to these restrictions long term. So what might we see when ‘normal’ life resumes?
Firstly, many businesses may have found that despite the initial upheaval, working from home has worked well and thus allow more flexibility for their staff going forward. This could be important depending upon how quickly the economy recovers, as businesses may seek to reduce their floor area demand with hot desking and limiting the number of staff in the office at any one time.
Further to future working arrangements, the benefits of video conferencing have been demonstrated through this period, and it could certainly help to substitute costly meetings, reducing the need to travel and the associated expenses.
A benefit that has also been realised during the current lockdown, has been the increase in the numbers cyclists, which in part has been attributed to the reduction in traffic. It remains to be seen whether this uptake in cycling will continue post-lockdown, but there are green shoots which could inspire people to travel more often by bicycle.
In the interests of balance, it is also worth considering the potential negative consequences of the pandemic on reducing congestion, and one that is being realised in Wuhan has been the boom in car sales since the restrictions were lifted. This is in part due to people’s fear of using public transport and the potential for contracting the virus, with sales suggesting it is families buying second cars.
There are many factors that will affect future travel and these are just some of our thoughts, but we would love to hear from you about how future travel may be shaped by the current lockdown.