The shadow of the private car is back

Published

After so much effort to de-clutter the roads, the health crisis has reshuffled the cards. The modal share of public transport is in freefall, and there is a real risk that the private car will return to the forefront.

Pollution indices were amongst the few pieces of good news during containment. The French High Council for the Climate reported a 30% drop in GHG emissions.

THE PROSPECT OF A MAJOR TRAFFIC JAM

As ecological awareness has come up against the difficulty of guaranteeing health security for all, deconfinement has redistributed the modal share cards in the daily lives of citizens. Public transport has been deserted. According to Ile-de-France Mobilités (the Paris region Public Transport Authority), last June the number of people using the Paris region network represented barely 40% of the number of people using the network at the same time the previous year. In September, the figure did not reach 60% of passengers. Reluctant to board buses or metros, many urban and suburban dwellers want to avoid the promiscuity of public transport. Deprived, elected officials have seen their citizens demand impossible guarantees whilst seeing their public transport revenues drop.

The car is therefore on the verge of making a resounding comeback. Published last March, an Ipsos poll carried out in China revealed that 66% of the Chinese people questioned intend to choose the car to get around, a figure that did not exceed 34% before the crisis. In France, 233,820 new cars were registered in June 2020, compared to 96,310 twelve months earlier, a notable increase.

FAVOURING ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS BY BEING RESPONSIBLE

On all our roads, in the city centre as well as peri-urban and rural areas, it is not possible to give up responsible mobility. There is only one way to do this: be more responsible. It is up to us to wear masks, respect sanitary measures and avoid unnecessary travel. This is also how we will enable transit operators to be resilient. It is also up to us to trust them to ensure our safety by choosing the most suitable alternative for our journeys.

Among the solutions, Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) provides both flexibility and resilience that is rare in the world of public transport. This is Padam Mobility’s speciality. In the face of the pandemic, DRT makes it possible to book seats on everyday transport, thus controlling a passenger occupancy rate that guarantees social distancing.

Adaptable in real time, it allows services to be transformed by adding stops where needs, even temporary, are felt. It is also much more predictable: DRT’s enhanced passenger information will warn users if a vehicle is already too full to accommodate passengers safely. It will also direct them to the next available ride.

This period is testing the resilience of public transport, which has the means to meet the challenge.

Thibault Lécuyer-Weber is Chief Marketing Officer at Padam Mobility

This recent blog may also interest you: Why do so many people hate the bus?

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