Covid 19. At the recovery, will the transport system be the same?

Corona virus

I don’t want to be one of those, too many, who pontificate how the Covid 19 will change the world.

Allow me, however, to express a couple of considerations about how, at the end of this stage of restrictions, our behaviour and those around us will change.

Let’s start from the car and its use.

Until yesterday, the general policy of governments and local administrators was to discourage the use of cars in urban centres, especially in big cities, to reduce traffic and pollution.

They pushed us towards a greater use of public transport and other forms of mobility such as car sharing, shared cars on the same route, bike sharing and even electric scooters.

Everything to avoid us using our own car.
Covid 19

But tomorrow, in a few weeks or in any case when we’ll return to a normally working life with the necessary consequently movements, these principles will hardly be pursued, at least in the immediate future, and as long as it will be necessary to maintain a certain social distancing.

Subways, buses and trams will certainly not be able to be crowded of passengers, close to one another (to say the least) and with a protective mask.

The situation on trains is similar.

If long-distance trains, with reserved seats and more space for each passenger, can also provide hygienic facilities, this will not be possible on regional and local trains; those used every day by thousands of travellers.

The same travellers who, once arrived at their destination, will also have to use trams or subways.

As with trams, subways and city buses, even local trains, by their nature, are destined to have crowded periods that cannot be contained.

And the disinfestation of all these public transports should be continuous.

The only “safe” vehicle therefore remains the car, or better “one’s own” car which will be perceived – and I’d say rightly– as infinitely safer than public transports.
Covid 19

Considering that – at least in a first but not very short phase – airplanes and high-speed trains will necessarily have a much more limited number of seats (and at what costs?), what is there to think about is that the private car will be used to a greater extent, not only for urban trips but also for medium/long distance interurban ones.

But let’s not stop there.

If many of us, driven by an ecological sentiment, by the directives of the various governments and shared by the manufacturers, by advertising or by incentives, began to turn to the hybrid or electric, tomorrow we could reconsider it.

If really the use of one’s car is central again, because other transport systems such as trains, buses or planes become less attractive, we could see some reconsiderations in the future as well.

For example, a return of interest in the good old diesel, pointed to as the primary cause of pollution but currently more competitive and easier to manage if compared to electric or hybrid engines (and toady low polluting too).

Covid 19

Manufacturers have invested and are developing alternative engines and many had announced the abandonment of diesel, but it is possible that there will be reconsiderations.

At the end of the quarantine due to Covid 19, will the needs for social distancing change our requests in terms of mobility? It changed our lives, and we still don’t know how far!

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