Putting mobility back on track
While the lockdown is now behind us, the deconfinement test has only just begun. Now is the time for the global economy to recover from several weeks of a prolonged freeze of all economic activity. The mobility sector is at the heart of the different recovery plans that are being considered by many governments. In a context where social distancing remains imperative, many efforts have been made toward individual modes of transportation. From the car industry recovery plan (bonus, scrappage) to various actions in favor of the development of the bicycle (deployment of temporary bike lanes, financial aids towards purchase and repair), France has made several decisions meant to allow people to move again in a context of uncertainty about a possible second wave of the epidemic.
But a second crisis is looming: a long-term disaffection towards collective modes of transport (mass transit, carsharing) in favor of individual modes. The collateral victims of this recovery, mass transit networks, which are the backbone of urban mobility schemes, are suffering from economic difficulties which the Covid-19 crisis has only exacerbated in many countries. In a letter to the French President, the GART (Association of public transport authorities), warned the French government about the critical financial situation of many networks which could, in the coming months, be unable to pay their contribution to mass transit operators. This possibility could lead operators to stop public transportation services.
The recovery in a sector like mobility will be complex. The main challenges will be to avoid sector-only approaches, which can leave aside some means of transportation that are essential to the economy; to provide a sustainable answer to funding issues; and finally, to ensure that this recovery can favor the emergence of less-carbon-intensive mobility.