Is COVID transforming our transport habits forever?
As lockdown eases a growing body of research confirms the way we're getting around is changing. People in cities are turning away from public transport in favour of modes that facilitate social distancing.
It's a trend that presents a real growth opportunity for businesses innovating in the transport space.
“Covid is going to be an accelerator for the transition to more sustainable mobility,” says Kersten Heineke from The McKinsey Center for Future Mobility. “This situation is a chance to build up to a new normal.”
A survey by global scooter business Lime, shows people in cities like Berlin, London and Seoul are expecting to use e-scooters more frequently. McKinsey’s global study suggests the risk of infection is also leading to more use of cars, bikes and e-bikes. Walking is also being widely promoted as an alternative to public transport.
The UK Government recently unveiled a £2bn package to create a “new era for cycling and walking”. While much of this funding isn't new investment, it nevertheless highlights a policy-driven determination to push active and sustainable forms of transport.
The fast-tracked legalisation of rental e-scooters in the UK is a further proof of this, and has come on the back of record demand for hire bikes in London through the Santander scheme.
Across Europe urban road, cycle and pedestrian networks are being adapted to enable greater uptake of socially distanced transport options.
There is of course doubt around how to make these changes permanent. A blend of top down, investment-heavy infrastructure change over the coming decade, alongside bottom-up innovation that ‘nudges’ individuals to think differently, could be the answer.
It’s an approach that some believe will ensure the urban transport landscape is never the same again. “This moment where cars have been pulled off our streets and people are enjoying walking and biking could be transformative,” says Calvin Thigpen, Director of Policy Research at Lime. “It could help flip the switch to long-term adoption of micro-mobility.”
At Newlane we believe our launch product - the first truly packable helmet for the urban rider - can play a part in embedding these positive changes in behaviour.
Find out more at newlanehelmet.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org