Ten lessons have been learned during the 2020 Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic lockdown. These lessons have been suggested by the Italian protagonists of the IV National Conference on shared mobility and were highlighted during European Mobility Week 2020, which took place from 16 to 22 September.
The insights have been listed with the aim of providing cities with creative suggestions on activities they could plan during future European Mobility Weeks;
- Essential workers are important; among these, public transport employees and all those who contribute to urban mobility. “There have been and still are months of difficulty and concern, to which companies and public administrations have responded with concrete choices to facilitate safe mobility for city users and transport workers. However, there is still a long path to go to restore confidence in public transport, which is essential for safe and sustainable urban mobility”, said Sara Venturoni, station director of Rete Ferroviaria Italiana.
- The invisible has become visible; noise and air pollution resulting from daily travel has dropped to unprecedented levels. For a few months, people were able to breathe cleaner air and live in less noisy urban spaces, and have expressed a desire for this to continue. “Proof of this was the extraordinary attention shown by public opinion for the ‘Buono mobilità 2020’ experimental Program, which encourages cycling, micro-mobility and bike-sharing services”. Giusy Lombardi, from the General Directorate for Climate, Energy and Air.
- Our world was running too fast; we need to slow down by imposing speed limits in urban areas. “Slow mobility allows a different perception of the city made of details: we notice the architecture, the use of greenery, the public spaces, the street furniture”, says Anna Parasacchi, the coordinator of the Green City Network
- Respiratory health and an active lifestyle are now more important than ever; early research suggests that pollution and obesity significantly increase the health risks from COVID-19. Therefore, we need to find better ways that permanently help people to walk or cycle around our cities without taking risks.
- Working from home has become normal and possible for many people and reduces the need for commuting. This gives us the opportunity to rationalise and better articulate mobility and to get the advantage of fewer rush hours and congestion, less pollution, more safety, more widespread quality for all. “This new paradigm needs pushing on innovation, digitisation, and planning with much greater intensity than that experienced in recent years”, explains Carlo Carminucci, director of research at Isfort.
- Children who drive to school with their parents contribute significantly to road congestion, distance-learning or e-learning can help reduce the number of trips, but we need more sustainable alternatives to accompany children to school. Research by Loendersloot Groep has shown that accompanying children to school by bicycle brings them more freedom, creativity, and happiness. They develop a better sense of traffic and become more independent.
- Digital tools are essential for the efficient use of transport systems, but they must work for everyone. Digital literacy and accessibility are needed to make the most of these tools.
- Buying online was a big opportunity during the lockdown, but we need more sustainable deliveries. Remember the potential of cargo bikes and the reorganisation of the distribution system to bring us closer to zero-emission logistics.
- Some people are more vulnerable than others; we need cities with transport systems that are free of mobility barriers and accessible to all.
Photo Credit: © Topconcept/Shutterstock.com - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock.
Original article published by Life Gate on 18 September 2020