How public transport will change as lockdowns are eased

Josh Dutton at Yahoo News (which is a relatively bigger deal in Australia than the US due to a tie-up with one of the TV networks (7)) wrote: ‘Think outside the box’: How public transport will change as lockdowns are eased‘. I was quoted:

These shops in Waterloo are a bit of ghost town (2010-04-25)
These shops in Waterloo are a bit of ghost town (2020-04-25)

University of Sydney transport analyst Professor David Levinson also believes people will walk or cycle to work.

“This means more space needs to be available for footpaths, and more protected and dedicated cycle lanes need to be deployed rapidly,” he said.

“This can be taken from the excessive space given over to cars, especially parked cars, now.”

As for catching taxis and rideshares to work, Professor Levinson believes this only alleviates issues for people who don’t already own cars “and that gets expensive pretty quickly”
Issues might arise from parking, particularly in Sydney’s CBD, Professor Levinson said as there is “only a small and finite” number of spaces.

“If everyone were to go back to work at the same rates as pre-COVID, they could not all possibly drive. However, if work-at-home remains in place, say for half the workforce, then twice as many people could drive [to] the CBD,” he said.

Professor Levinson added congestion “tends to be self-limiting”

“As traffic increases, travel times rise, and as travel time rises demand (traffic) drops, so it finds a level,” he said.

“The equilibrium might be more congested than before the virus for a period if people are going back to work in high numbers but still transit averse, especially on bad weather days.

“But if the virus were effectively extinguished, I suspect transit ridership would go back to near normal levels, rather than stay at ghost town levels.”

He added he believes people will be working from home “at much higher levels post-COVID than pre-COVID” leading to “a lot less” travel.