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How has COVID-19 steered our mode of travel?

  • November 30, 2020 01:38 PM AEDT
  • Team Kalkine
How has COVID-19 steered our mode of travel?


  • The public transportation is changing due to the impact of prolonged coronavirus crisis.
  • Individual travelling devices are much in demand all over the world, and e-scooters are emerging as one of the safest ways to commute amid the crisis.
  • Technology like artificial intelligence is expected to shape the future of transportation industry.
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The Covid-19 pandemic that took the world in its grip, undoubtedly made people adapt to living which perhaps no one would have heard of or dreamed of. However, by now, we all are familiar with the concept of social distancing, regular hand sanitising, and maintaining a strict hygiene. 

At present, there is a significant dependency on technology which can be witnessed in the evolving transport and the commuting sectors.

Must read: Birds Eye View on Australian Transport Industry

Covid-19 paving the way to the high-tech public transport system

Managing social distancing is one of the most significant challenges in public transport. Hence, the global demand for individual travelling devices is rising. E-scooters are emerging as one of the safest ways to commute amid the current crisis.

During the lockdown, there was a considerable reduction in number of people taking public transportation. It was mainly due to the COVID-related restrictions, and for the fear of catching an infection. As a result of which, the practice of bike-sharing has increased and seems to hold immense potential as a mode of transport for future.

Also read: Second-hand car market rallies as individuals stay away from public transport

Right now, the long-term effects of the pandemic on the public transport system remain uncertain. The shared mobility future depends on how these systems will implement effective strategies to win the people's trust. The companies have to ensure that these modes of transport are safe and people will not get infected travelling by them. However, the trend of using electric vehicles will also help to keep environment clean and green.

Good read: Tesla hits an epic milestone; Elon Musk dethrones Bill Gates as the second richest man

Robot taxis are also being seen as a significant development towards providing social distancing to the commuters. A fully-autonomous car saves travellers from sharing the space with a driver.

Until now, micromobility startups have struggled to survive, and be known as unsuccessful initiatives due to their low profitability. However, the pandemic has changed it all and increased their demand as a safe alternative to the crowded public transport. The companies dealing in micromobility sector are now expecting to see a rebound.

AI is helping in safe travel amid the pandemic

The challenge for transport companies is to facilitate social distancing, as overcrowding during rush hours can result in a spike in cases, which can force governments to impose further restrictions. AI can be a big help for the companies in such a situation to facilitate travel with ease.

It can process vast amount of data to come up with optimal schedules to manage the crowded commute throughout the day. Furthermore, AI-powered transport systems allow the operator to quickly provide more vehicles for ensuring less crowd and proper implementation of the social-distancing norms.

Even though providing extra transport sounds simple, it requires enormous data to be analysed. These data includes the level of travellers’ demand, drivers’ availability, number of buses and trains available at a time, rules like the maximum number of hours the drivers can work between the breaks, and many other such factors.

Must read: Will Artificial Intelligence Barge Higher in Post-Pandemic Era?

What are the factors shaping the future of aviation sector?

The aviation sector cannot keep itself immune to the digital wave and other new requirements. Travellers’ expectations have drastically changed. At a time when the industry is going through huge loses and is uncertain about how long it will take to recover entirely, travellers’ expectations are really high. They want a wholly-personalised experience from the booking stage to the completion of their journey. Also, social distancing is another challenge for airlines as each seat costs them a lot, so selling half of the tickets to facilitate social-distancing norms is not possible for them.

In its study, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has identified the factors and the technologies that will shape the future of Airlines. The School of International Futures carried out the study. It covers how multiple macro environments like geopolitics to technological innovation and environmental concerns are bringing changes to the aviation sector. The study mentions that the main factors to bring change will be infectious disease and instability, global aging, new modes of consumption, environmental activism, middle-class growth in China and the Asia-Pacific region, and risk of terrorism.

The bottom line: The Covid-19 era's requirement of maintaining social distancing is reshaping the public transport sector. The relentless and prolonged pandemic has already altered everyone's lifestyle at multiple levels, and it is also bringing changes to how people commute in the cities around the world. Bike revolution and rising demand for micro-mobility, e-scooters and autonomous vehicles, is being witnessed all around the world. Only time will reveal the exact impact of the pandemic on the transport sector, but it is undergoing a massive transformation for the betterment of crowd-free transport.


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