Mobility habits (in a three-month interval) differed dramatically from 2019, as stated by a study from the Consumer Technology Association. “We’re seeing changes in buying behavior and what consumers are asking for,” says the affiliation’s CEO Gary Shapiro. “Now, whether this will be a permanent shift remains to be seen.”
Surveying 1000 consumers in late September, 34 percent had used public transit within the earlier three months – with an anticipated decrease in the upcoming three months. With a reduced need of trips due to the pandemic, 42 percent of respondents mentioned getting access to a personal car was more essential than it was six months earlier. Micromobility was also highlighted as increasing, with Shapiro stating: “What we’re seeing is bicycles are pretty good, in terms of mobility, […] In terms of COVID, public transportation has a rockier road right now.”
It should not come as a surprise that shared modes such as public transport are showing a decline in ridership during COVID-19. An overall decrease in all travel might be beneficial from an environmental point of view but instead lead to negative effects on both economic- and social sustainability as well as general wellbeing. What remains to be seen are the long-term effects following the pandemic, and if people will continue to shy away from shared rides (as well as handshakes). Any kind of more permanent change in behavior and practice will hopefully then be grounded in continuous legitimate risk, and not based on new habits or unfounded perceived risk.
Written by Victor Fabricius, RISE Mobility and Systems