Virus lockdowns caused shift to ‘private mobility’: report

(EurActiv, 4 Feb 2021) The need to avoid crowded spaces led Europeans to opt for “private mobility modes”, such as cycling, walking, and private vehicles, according to the European Mobility Atlas 2021, a report analysing key facts and figures about transport in Europe.

European travellers abandoned public transport for private cars during the COVID-19 pandemic, a trend that may harm efforts to drastically cut emissions in the sector, the report found.

Even though sales of bicycles skyrocketed during the pandemic, the most popular means of transport for longer journeys remained the private car.

Air pollution plummeted in the early days of the pandemic, as coronavirus lockdown measures implemented across Europe emptied the streets from traffic. However, improvements in air quality and carbon emissions are “likely to be temporary,” said the European Environment Agency in November.

Still, the European Commission’s climate chief, Frans Timmermans, saw positive signs that transport habits may be shifting in the long term.

Lockdown measures, coupled with the ongoing shift to green transport, is causing a “relatively radical and profound change in the way we organise our mobility,” Timmermans said at the report launch on Wednesday (3 February).

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EurActiv, 4 Feb 2021: Virus lockdowns caused shift to ‘private mobility’: report