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Report reveals how citizens are rethinking transportation

Lime surveyed citizens in Berlin, London, New York City, Seattle and Seoul about their pre- and post-Covid-19 lockdown transport choices and how these may impact future decisions.

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Will the post-Covid era witness the shift towards more sustainable transport options?
Will the post-Covid era witness the shift towards more sustainable transport options?

A survey by micro-mobility specialist Lime demonstrates how people are quickly adapting to major changes in their environment, including travel restrictions and reopening procedures, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Findings from the Rethinking travel in the era of Covid-19 research report reveals support for global transportation trends and more flexible and affordable options, such as public transit, greener, more community-focused slow streets and shared scooters.

 

Focus on five cities

 

The report specifically looks at the decisions travellers are making across modes of transport. The survey focused on five metropolitan centres: Berlin, London, New York City, Seattle, and Seoul.

 

Respondents were asked about their pre-Covid-19, current, and future transportation preferences.

 

Overall, three fifths (61 per cent) of respondents stated they used public transit during the Covid-19 crisis compared to 82 per cent who used it before. The majority though (80 per cent) plan to use public transit in the future only just slightly less than before coronavirus lockdowns.

 

Ride-hailing usage declined significantly with just under half (48 per cent) of respondents using ride-hailing services during the Covid-19 crisis compared to 71 per cent before.

“It’s clear people are rethinking their rides to work as cities are beginning to reopen, and new transportation trends are beginning to emerge”

Respondents plan to return to pre-pandemic levels for future use, though, with Lime suggesting that the window is closing for cities to encourage a mode shift toward sustainable modes like walking, micro-mobility and public transit.

 

The survey revealed strong support (80 per cent of respondents) overall for some or all changes to implement so-called “slow streets,” where streets have been temporarily closed to car traffic – and opened to pedestrians, scooters, and bikes – during Covid-19 lockdowns. Support was highest in London, with 85 per cent of respondents wanting to keep some or all changes.

 

Impact on shared scooters

 

In Seoul and Berlin, where mobility restrictions have been less severe and shared scooters had already been on city streets pre-Covid-19, the survey revealed that both cities continued their use of them and plan to increase the frequency of this in the future.

 

During Covid-19, respondents in Seoul and Berlin used shared scooters on a weekly basis more frequently than before. Across the two cities, 17 per cent of respondents rode scooters at least weekly before Covid-19 compared to 21 using shared scooters at least weekly during the crisis.

 

In addition, 68 per cent of respondents in these cities also indicated they would use shared scooters in the future, an increase of 25 percentage points compared to before Covid-19. This suggests that two out of three people intend to use scooters as a transportation solution.

“This growing support for a range of micro-mobility options, a return to public transit, and keeping slow streets will help shape the future of transportation in a way that prioritises people instead of cars”

In the cities without existing scooter share programmes (Seattle, New York and London), three-quarters of respondents said they intend to ride scooters in the future. One third of respondents (35 per cent) say they will use it weekly or daily, implying it will likely become a regular commuting habit.

 

Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of respondents also reported they purchased a bike, e-bike, or e-scooter as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, while just six per cent purchased a car, truck, or motorcycle.

 

“It’s clear people are rethinking their rides to work as cities are beginning to reopen, and new transportation trends are beginning to emerge,” said Calvin Thigpen, director of policy research at Lime. “This survey shows how people are choosing transportation options that make more sense for our evolving ‘new normal’ and beyond – and how significant a role micro-mobility is playing in this unique moment in time by providing a safe, reliable way to get around and filling gaps in our usual transportation systems.

 

“Moving forward, we’re excited to see how this growing support for a range of micro-mobility options, a return to public transit, and keeping slow streets will help shape the future of transportation in a way that prioritises people instead of cars.”

 

The full report can be read here.

 

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