How Transportation Systems are adapting to COVID-19
By Vivek Koneru
The real importance of seamless urban movement of people and goods is only realized at the time of emergency. People need a steady supply of food, medical supplies and essential goods with minimal delays or restrictions. Government authorities and mobility service providers’ (MSPs) have shown adaptability in their responses to COVID-19 by embracing a blend of mobility options and public-private partnerships.
One of the four things we have learnt and listed by World Economic Forum was “Ecosystems aren't either “publicly” or “privately” owned”.
In Australia recent examples include.
Australian Government partnership with private health sector secures 30,000 hospital beds and 105,000 nurses and staff, to help fight COVID-19 pandemic
Woolworths partners with Uber to get online deliveries to customers.
Woolworths partners with Meals on Wheels to support elderly.
Agility in mobility system is important for adjusting to any change while guaranteeing public safety and the continuous movement of people and goods. Who would have ever thought that a bus would be the best option to deliver food supply in a city in distress? In China, despite most of the country being in lockdown, public transport was entirely suspended only in Wuhan and its commuter belt. Buses were then used to move medical staff and deliver goods2.
Walking and cycling have become an important part of resilience against the Covid-19 across the world3. Some of the measures include
Berlin has added temporary bike lanes, directly replacing car lanes.
Vancouver has turned well-trafficked roads into one-way streets, setting aside a temporary extra lane for walking and cycling. Calgary has taken a similar approach.
Winnipeg has fully closed several central and suburban streets to through traffic with cones, signs and bollards.
Oakland closed 74 miles of its streets to passing cars and opened them up to pedestrians and people on cycles.
Bogota opened 47 miles of temporary bike lanes to reduce crowding on public transport and help prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), as well as to improve air quality.
The understanding and the principles that are driving us in how we adapt to COVID-19 must also underlie our long-term management of transport services.