Emily Sohn at National Geographic wrote: Your daily commute won’t ever be the same.
The title is a bit overwrought [for most Americans, things will be largely indistinguishable, since most Americans drive in the suburbs], but the content identifies areas where things might differ from today. Lots of us were interviewed, my contributions below:
Facial sensors like ones that have been deployed on public transportation in China may also measure your temperature, rejecting entry to a bus or subway station if you have a fever. Once antibody testing is accurate and easily available, you might even show an immunity card before you can board, though there will be a fine line between safety and hassle, adds David Levinson, a transport engineer at the University of Sydney, Australia.
“All of those invasions of privacy are things that are not going to make people happy, and are going to make them more likely to use other modes than public transit,” he says. “People will find alternatives if they can.”
For some people, the future of commuting might be no commute at all. About half of adults with jobs in the U.S. are working from home during the pandemic, according to a report published by the Brookings Institution in April. That’s more than double the percentage who did some telecommuting two years ago. Close to 20 percent of chief financial officers surveyed by Brookings said they planned to permanently retain remote work for at least 20 percent of their workers.
This kind of societal shift could further reduce crowding and the spread of disease on mass transit, Levinson says, especially if people go into offices only occasionally, if they bike when they can, and if they get better about staying home when sick.