1 June 2020 weekly summary: the impact of COVID-19 on transport and mobility

By Patrick Troy / Updated: 31 May 2020

Cities around Europe are beginning to come out of lockdown and reinstate access regulations. Antwerp, Gent, London and Milan have all started charging vehicles again for entering their low emission zones. These charges and restrictions will help to prevent significant increases in pollution and congestion as travel increases.

In London, health service and care home staff will still be able to claim back any congestion charges. There are plans to increase the congestion charge from £11.50 a day to £15 from 22 June, as well as to increase the operating hours from the current 7 am – 6 pm to 7 am – 10 pm. Even though some plans are still on course, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has asked the UK government to postpone the introduction of stricter safety standards for freight vehicles, which were due to be implemented on 26 October 2020, to the end of February 2021.

In France, COVID-19 caused Renault to suspend the launch of a 500 vehicle electric car fleet for the Zity e-car sharing service. Plans are now back on track, with Renault emphasising the strict hygiene and safety measures that will be put in place.

In Vienna, the Mayor, Birgit Hebein, has proposed to use parking spaces to provide extra pavement space. Restaurants and cafés will be able to use this space to cater for more clients whilst following physical distancing guidelines.

In Italy, following the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport’s recent guidelines on public transport safety, it has been mandated that only seats on public transport that are indicated as available – with the use of stickers – can be used.

The European Cyclists’ Federation has also released recommendations for safer streets, ECF recommendations for healthier and safer streets after the coronavirus pandemic. These include making cycling safe and convenient, using speed limit reductions and providing subsidy schemes for purchasing bikes.

Many cities around the world are introducing measures to make cycling and walking safer. Greece has plans to reallocate 50,000 square metres of public space to cyclists and pedestrians; Milan will transform 30 km of streets by reallocating car space to cyclists and pedestrians; Rome has approved 100 km of temporary and permanent cycle routes.

In the US, the National Association of City Transportation Officials has released their own strategies for maintaining physical distancing, Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery. Some of these include information on pavement expansions, slow streets and pop-up bike lanes.

For more in-depth information see the original articles on the following websites:

Also, see these COVID-19 related events:

For a detailed list of online resources, guidance materials, and COVID-19 related transport and mobility discussions, please see links in the Eltis article Maintaining essential mobility during a pandemic.

See also the previous weekly summaries produced:

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