The global pandemic has changed the way we travel. Not every region in the world is affected in the same way and the situation for some countries is changing quickly. As lockdown is easing in some countries, and more people are returning to work, transport networks are starting to get busier. But, how will your commute change after Covid-19?
The government advice for each region of the world is different. Generally speaking, the advice for travelling is:
- Consider other forms of travel instead of public transport
- Plan your journey if taking public transport
- Travel at off-peak times
- Take quieter routes with fewer changes
- Wait for other passengers to get off before boarding
- Keep 1m away from people ‘where possible’
- Wash hands after completing the journey
If keeping a distance isn’t possible at busy times or getting on or off public transport, face away from others and wear face coverings over nose and mouth.
Traveller Sentiment Survey
A recent survey by Oliver Wyman, a global management consultancy conducted a Traveller Sentiment survey on behalf of the World Economic Forum. There were 4,600 respondents from nine countries during May 2020. It found that more than half (52%) felt uncomfortable using subways and buses and those that use mass transit frequently, 41% stated they would use it less regularly.
Driving is one alternative, however this would cause congestion, traffic and pollution. It’s not a viable option for many who may not be able to afford a car and its running costs. Working from home is another option, which is expected to rise. In a second survey on mobility states conducted by the Oliver Wyman Forum, there were 65% of respondents that stated that they plan to continue to work from home more often.
Travel Safety on Public Transport
Based on the Traveller Sentiment Survey, having visible steps in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19 reassured passengers. There were 52% in favour of mandatory face masks, 49% wanting social distancing marks on the ground and 45% wanting limits on car occupancy levels. However, necessity of approaches varied by country with the US favouring disinfection between trips first (63%), the UK preferring hand washing stations in subway stations (53%) and Australia wanting both (45%).
How to Commute Safely
Aside from governmental measures, employers could look to stagger work starting times to avoid rushes and to help their employees travel at quieter times. This measure has been implemented in Paris and the Île-de-France with strict measures at peak time where employees must have a certificate to show necessity of travel.
Using Artificial Intelligence for Safer Commuting
The use of AI tools such as Emma.ai, which uses Artificial Intelligence could contribute toward reducing congestion on roads by suggesting the best times to travel, which are quieter. Barcelona is using AI to reduce the spread of Covid-19 on its metro network, by intelligently controlling ventilation to bring in fresh air to improve hygiene. In the UK, the startup, OpenSpace is monitoring real-time passenger movement to ensure social distancing.