18 May 2020 weekly summary: the impact of COVID-19 on transport and mobility

By Patrick Troy / Updated: 18 May 2020

Cities are beginning to ease lockdown restrictions but are having to rethink urban mobility solutions to ensure physical distancing and the safety of passengers. Some cities are also thinking about the cost to passengers who may have taken a salary reduction or have even faced unemployment. In Portugal, the city of Braga is offering a monthly public transport pass to anyone unemployed at a 50% discount.

Regarding physical distancing, the International Transport Forum has advised cities to re-allocate space for walking and cycling, to provide funding for more light individual transport lanes and to establish safety guidelines for new permanent infrastructure.

The Scottish government has announced a ‘Spaces for People’ funding package for temporary walking and cycling routes, including improvements to existing routes. France has announced a €20 million package to encourage cycling, including €50 per person for bike repairs and 750 km of new bicycle lanes. London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has announced that temporary bicycle lanes will run along major tube and bus routes in the UK capital, as well as fast-tracking the implementation of permanent cycleways and widening pavements.

In Greece, the city of Thessaloniki is temporarily expanding pavements and allowing restaurants to use this space for tables. This is to welcome more customers, so as to try to restart the restaurant industry, whilst still ensuring physical distancing.

Transport and City planner, Peter Biczok, believes that we can achieve physical distancing using a combination of cycling and buses. All buses in an area could be rerouted to run along central corridors offering extra capacity in this zone, whilst passengers living further away can use bicycles to access this zone. This is a very similar system to the Netherlands where half of rail passengers arrive at stations by bike.

With restrictions easing, people might be wondering what this means for the holidays that they have booked. The European Commission has released guidance covering tourism and transport and how to safely resume travel. See our coverage of the guidelines here and the full press release here.

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:

Photo Credit: © Xian Jinavath / Shutterstock.com - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock.