"It is clear that the ways we travel, and use transport, will not be the
same after the coronavirus outbreak as they were before. What we don’t
know is which changes will turn out to have been temporary, and which
permanent. Flights from European airports are down by 90% from a year
ago, for example. But is this a blip? Reports of strong demand for
winter flights suggest it might be.
There are no comparable figures that suggest how many car journeys the
UK should expect in six months or a year’s time. But it is to be hoped
that the huge reduction in motor traffic caused by the virus will not be
completely reversed. Already, cities including Milan and New York have
announced ambitious plans to reconfigure roads in such a way as to make
more space for cyclists and pedestrians.
Improving air quality is one motive, particularly in cities, not least
because pollution is thought to be a contributor to Covid-19 deaths.
Encouraging people to walk and cycle is another. Fitter, less overweight
people are less at risk from all sorts of diseases, particularly
For health reasons, as well as a wish to reduce noise pollution, improve
road safety and the public realm more broadly, green transport
campaigners have long argued for space to be redistributed, for example
by the creation of new cycle lanes and walking routes. Town and city
pavements are generally narrow, with carriageways taking up twice or
three times as much space – much of it for parking. But the need for
physical distancing makes the case for change unarguable. While those
who need to drive for business or personal reasons must, of course, be
allowed to, the presumption of an entitlement to drive must not continue
to trump the right to walk and cycle safely."
Via Roy Gardiner and Sheila Nagig.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics