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Travel less, do more (or do what's necessary, anyway)

Society’s capacity to innovate suggests we can use learning from the pandemic to plan for less traffic...

22 March 2022
Percentage reduction in trips and miles saved per mode (over and above pre-Covid-19 levels) if 50% of June 2021 working from home (WFH) levels are maintained, for those that can (N=1724).5
Percentage reduction in trips and miles saved per mode (over and above pre-Covid-19 levels) if 50% of June 2021 working from home (WFH) levels are maintained, for those that can (N=1724).5

 

A timely new report, Less is more: Changing travel in a post-pandemic society, finds that people have been able to adapt significant elements of their daily travel to do what they want by travelling less. 

Researchers from CREDS and Decarbon8 looked at the changes in work location and travel as a result of Covid-19 to learn lessons that would help to reach the UK’s net-zero goals. See their summary report here

Dr Greg Marsden of CREDS and the DecarboN8 network, said: “Some of our findings upend the thinking about transport policy. 

“Society’s capacity to innovate suggests we can use the learning from the pandemic to plan for less traffic. 

“We need to do that anyway to meet our climate goals. In the light of the war in Ukraine and increased fuel prices and energy security concerns we need to double our efforts on enabling better access to the things people need without requiring more travel to get them.”

The researchers from CREDS and the DecarboN8 network go on to develop recommendations for transport decisions makers based on evidence from these changing travel patterns that would encourage fewer trips, a greater blend of virtual activities and more localised and active travel.

The researchers call on policy makers to:

Actively manage the return to the office to kickstart more sustainable commuting

Stimulate a return to public transport

Prioritise improving pedestrian environments with the funding and attention it deserves

Encourage leisure cyclists to broaden their cycle use

Tackle the rise in light goods vehicle traffic

Support a shift to lower car ownership

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