During lockdown there was a big increase in the number of people cycling and walking for leisure. The quieter roads and the allowance to take ‘daily exercise’ here in the UK means many people took to walking and cycling more, thereby discovering their local neighbourhoods better. Many keyworkers took up cycling in order to avoid the crowds on public transport and felt safer to do so whilst the roads were quieter.
Post-lockdown traffic congestion
As we emerge out of lockdown the traffic is increasing. It is predicted that due to reduced capacity of public transport – because of the need to socially distance – the number of cars on the road will increase by 1 million. What is the solution to our post lockdown traffic congestion?
There is no single solution but if we can enable and encourage more people to walk, cycle, scoot or roll for short, everyday journeys, we will free up space for those who really have to travel by motor vehicle.
Working from home
Our abrupt interruption of our normal daily lives due to Covid-19 has made many reassess the way they want to organise their daily lives for the future. Working from home and being forced to get familiar with technology that enables that has made us understand it is possible and beneficial for many to continue doing so beyond Covid-19, resulting in less need for commuter journeys.
More local journeys
But working from home has other effects on travel too; maybe you will pop out to local shops and facilities if you work from home and maybe you’ll cycle there as it is a short, easy familiar route which you got to know during lockdown daily exercise.
Reassessing our values
Covid-19 has forced us to make changes and break habits. In doing so we are reevaluating what is important to us, opening our minds and pushing forward on wider issues that matter to us and our communities. How we travel affects physical health, mental well-being, climate, accessibility and equity across our society
Increasing disease resilience
Increasing our resilience to disease is another consideration for now and the future. By using our regular journeys as a way of getting the regular exercise we need, we will help combat and protect ourselves against future outbreaks. Increased acceptance and appreciation of our need for healthier lifestyles makes regular cycling and walking an important option to pursue.
Government funding for active travel
Across the UK, governments have recognised the importance of promoting active travel as a long term and short term solution for the issues we face. They are now investing in enabling theses changes – not just in cities (which tend to attract this funding) but everywhere.