The European Commission has released guidance on how to safely resume travel and tourism as COVID-19 restrictions begin to soften. As part of this, the Commission is encouraging and supporting the progress of new urban mobility solutions, such as extending pavements and bicycles paths or even adapting timetables.
Even though public transport has continued to run in many cities, measures to ensure safety will be necessary as passenger numbers begin to rise. These include:
- Upholding safe minimum distancing;
- Minimising contact between drivers and passengers;
- Increasing and adapting operational frequency;
- Using automatic or driver operated doors to avoid passengers touching door handles;
- Optimising passenger flows to avoid overcrowding.
Communication of measures taken is essential to enable smooth execution and reassure citizens. Campaigns such as ‘stand on stickers’ have proven to be successful. These measures could fall outside the remit of public transport so consultation with health authorities and stakeholder will be necessary. The costs could be combined into public service contracts.
Shared mobility companies should help protect users from infection. Rental vehicles should be thoroughly cleaned on return, whilst shared vehicles should be cleaned at least once of every day of use. Station based services such as shared bicycles should be cleaned more regularly. E-scooters and e-bikes should be clean at least after every battery charge.
Temporary enlargements of pavements and bicycle lanes will help make active mobility users stay safe. Reducing speed limits of vehicles in heavy traffic areas will also help.
Platforms for sharing best practices are available but should still be developed further. The Commission is planning to gather Member States, local authorities and urban mobility stakeholders to analyse the impacts of COVID-19 and guide future sustainable mobility solutions in the EU.
Original article first published May 2020 by the European Commission