The transportation sector is affected the same as all corona viruses. This is not a normal period of disruption, which is usually caused by a loss of supply such as a traffic accident or industrial action. In this case the problem is a lost search.
When the world finally emerged from the pandemic and the travel restrictions were lifted, all limited demand tanks were suddenly released when people tried to make up for lost time. At this point, however, the sector can already look very different and months of blocking can change behavior patterns forever. What does the crisis mean for our future journey?
The short-term change is clear: transportation is limited to people who only make the necessary trips. With the exception of food and medicine, other forms of travel decline rapidly. Car travel in particular has dropped significantly, while occasional indications show that the number of passengers in each car continues to decline and that pedestrian and bicycle trips are limited.
The collapse of the use of public transportation is even more dramatic. Airlines and airports are reducing services and staff while seeking government bailouts, and bus companies are pursuing a similar strategy. The British private railroad company was nationalized effectively.
Fly less, run more
This will have a deep long-term effect. While trips to friends and family must be relatively affected, other trips will change significantly. In particular, business travel by plane and long distance travel are vulnerable because they are replaced by video conferencing, and we may see fewer trips because people and organizations are accustomed to working remotely.
It is very likely that the decline in major roads will continue to increase rapidly, perhaps irrevocably, as home delivery services develop in their place. What is less certain is what happens on vacation trips. After the pandemic, will there be a big increase in visits to theaters, churches, pubs or restaurants, or will people change their habits forever?
At least in the medium term, this must mean less air travel and long distance travel, as well as more pedestrian, bicycle and driver trips, because the likelihood of people sharing with others is increasing. For the same reason, taxis and mini taxis can do less business than train, bus, and bus connections between people who have real alternative options.
The biggest impact on the supply side is likely that a large number of real transportation trips are replaced by “virtual trips”. However, many industries struggle to get the components and raw materials needed to produce or sell their own products, especially because factories in China are closed for most of the first quarter of 2020. This shows a lack of sustainability in business numbers. In some cases, this leads to a reassessment of your product or service transfer from the provider to the customer.
From planes and trains to the Internet
What all this means for the community is quite diverse. At the local level, increased use of cars and reduced public transportation can cause congestion, delays, traffic accidents, air pollution and noise, and social exclusion. However, more trips that are replaced by internet-based activities can reduce this effect.
When it comes to longer trips, energy consumption and carbon dioxide seem to go down to the post-coronavirus world when people switch from planes to trains on the Internet. Of course, it can be assumed that the Internet has enough bandwidth to deal with it. Overall, this means that a pandemic can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the transportation system, even at the expense of slower economic growth.
Opportunity to make transportation proactive
In the future, public transport operators must convince consumers that they will not be infected. This means more cleaning, safety grills, improved air filters and denser seats. This crisis can also cause transportation service providers to rethink how routes and network services should be provided. More importantly, this pandemic is a good opportunity for them to rethink all public transportation ideas, both in terms of business models and sector responses to rapidly changing market needs.
This is a unique opportunity for governments to be proactive in the way transportation is sent and used, and to support and promote the most efficient modes of transportation. This is because the extreme and long-lasting nature of a pandemic forces us to re-evaluate almost every aspect of our lives. This, in turn, can destroy the habits and attitudes that underlie so many decisions at all levels, such as, where, when, and why we travel.
So how should walking and cycling be promoted first, followed by buses, trains and other modes of public transportation and then by car? One of the most important levers is directing the room to pedestrians, cyclists and buses on special lanes and away from private cars. Other options for improving public transportation include nationalization or other more direct control lines in the public sector, subsidizing services needed by the public such as rural bus routes and charging for single residential vehicles to access crowded areas.
The government can also launch an information campaign that promotes “the right choice” of the regime and better service integration. This can be done through a mobility application as a service where transportation service providers offer “packages” similar to cellular operators. This can include travel planning, booking and payment with various types of single tickets or subscriptions (imagine: ten train trips to the UK per year, 50 Uber vehicles, and unlimited e-bike rentals).