As the country tries to move forward from the coronavirus pandemic, the government are pushing for more and more people to be back in the office . Amid safety fears, people are returning to using private cars more quickly than they are returning to using public transport. In the week to 3rd October 2021, car use was at 91.4% of pre-pandemic levels, whilst bus use tailed behind at 78.4%, as published by the Department for Transport
This is being labelled a “car led recovery”.
But What’s The Problem?
Whilst going back to work and using our cars more seems positive on the surface, a car led recovery will negatively impact the economic recovery post-pandemic. Not only does a car led recovery make hitting the UK’s 2050 net zero target more difficult, but it exasperates the current fuel shortage we are experiencing and can have negative effects on our health, too.
During lockdown, we saw improvements in air quality and a substantial increase in walking and cycling; according to the National Travel Survey, average cycling trips increased by 26% and average walking trips over one mile increased by 34%, while global emissions from surface transport fell by 36%, according to Nature Climate Change.The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy estimate that carbon dioxide emissions in the UK have fallen by 10.7% from 2019 to 2020. Despite this being the biggest decline in emissions in history, experts warn it is not sustainable as it is not the direct result of policy changes. Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, says that the decline will be erased if the right policy measures aren’t put in place.
So What Can Be Done?
Better Transport have called for the Chancellor to use the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review to prioritise active travel, bus, rail and electric vehicle capital infrastructure investment. It is hoped a so-called ‘green recovery’ will use money to fund projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution, whilst permanently changing how road space is used to encourage walking, cycling, or using public transport.
The solutions for businesses are:
- Creating a sustainable mobilised workforce whether this is done through car pooling or a minibus service
- Switching from traditional van deliveries to e-deliveries, particularly using e-cargo bikes in “the year of the cargo bike”
- Using a digital app to manage fleets and optimise routes
For more information on how your business can reduce harmful GHG emissions through the use of our smart transport technology system, get in touch at email@example.com