Following lockdown earlier this year, cities have seen significant decreases in the amount of traffic using their road networks and associated improvements in air quality. Bus networks have seen patronage collapse and there has been a decrease in the amount of people walking and cycling although not as significant as falls in road traffic. As restrictions on movement are lifted, cities need to think about likely trends in the short and medium term and how these will affect places in the longer term. The key trends in the short term to consider are:
A significant reduction in the amount of travellers using buses which will see in the medium-term significant issues with congestion and air quality
The need to prioritise walking and cycling to ameliorate the impact of a move toward more car journeys
The need to re-allocate roadspace to enable people to walk and cycle, queue for shops etc.
Capture and maintain some of the benefits that residents have seen in the lockdown period – cleaner air, safer streets etc
In the medium to long term, cities will need to predict trends in transport and their potential impacts:
Will we see a permanent shift to remote working and what impact will this have on land use/office space/city centres?
Can we maintain places that are primarily for pedestrians and cyclists?
How can we get people back onto public transport buses/trains?