Webinar#1: How Covid-19 is reshaping the urban mobility ecosystem?

The Webinar #1 about the consequences of the COVID-19 on urban mobility ecosystem has taken place on 7th October. Here you can find the presentations used by the speakers.

Watch the WEBINAR #1

 

The Covid19 pandemic has been abruptly changing people’s daily habits everywhere. The emergency forced lockdowns in many countries. People were forced to work, study and keep their social relations at home.

Mobility, also inside cities, dropped dramatically. Even after most of the emergency measures have been relieved, urban mobility changed for good, because many people kept working from home at least, partially - and the fear for possible infections prevented from travelling again by public transport. It is not possible to know when the pandemic will be over, but current data and news are suggesting that the next Winter will be still dramatically affected by the Covid19 emergency. The perception is that the world will not be the same, including urban mobility.

The first webinar of the series logically focused on this issue and offered a forum to discuss how COVID-19 is reshaping urban mobility ecosystems and how Mediterranean territories can respond to such challenge in the long run.

The discussions highlighted essential aspects to this goal. First, there is a need to plan in advance and in a more adapted way for emergencies for both cities and companies. Second, a shift of perspective on this pandemic could be beneficial viewing it as an opportunity to rethink our cities and give more space to alternative mobility and people.

Mario Fava, from the local Councils Association in Malta presented a new vision of sustainable mobility with the aim to offer a better quality of life to each resident. It is based on four pillars: sustainable mobility, green environment, open spaces and smart cities. The vision has become a project called SLOW STREETS, within which the concept of public spaces and soft mobility choices are a new reality. This features new, safe, sustainable, healthy and efficient mobility by walking, cycling, shared-mobility options, offering residents alternatives to the use of private cars. Even in these difficult times of distancing, walkability increases social interaction which in turn improves public health and builds up stronger communities.

Ivo Cré, from the Polis Network, presented some of the guidelines for the adaptation of SUMP in a time of a pandemic that was made for the European Commission, which describes how cities have responded to Covid-19 and the ways they found to face this new reality. Cities have been very creative in finding solutions and adapting, especially the ability of local administrations to use immediately all the resources they have at hand to overcome the challenges (Madrid for example). This pandemic experience represents the first time in which urban mobility is a driver to make our society, economies, and cities stand-up again while seizing the opportunity to reshape our cities’ streets. He also highlighted the new challenge for Mediterranean cities, whose tourism was impacted, and the need to rethink accessibility patterns to cities in line with new travel behaviors.

Valerio Piras, from Euromobility shared some insights on a survey on Smart Working in Italy. It showed that 90% of the respondents would like to continue smart working (within limits) after the emergency, the lack of direct contacts with colleagues/clients being the highest cause of people not willing to do so. The survey also proved a clear reduction of travel costs, reaching 70%. Before the pandemic, 2 out of 3 respondents used their car to reach work and almost 80% showed no changes in their post-emergency means of transport choice to go to work. Those who will change indicate a preference for the use of private car/motorcycle. Time-wise, the survey shows that, on a national scale, a wider adoption of smart working could save 2.400.000 hours of home-to-work travel time, benefiting both the workers and the environment, as this would also mean a reduction of emissions and fuel consumption. Smart working can therefore significantly contribute to sustainable mobility.

The video recording of the webinar is available here

Agenda and Documents

9.00  Opening and presentation of the Urban Transport Community (Laia Vinyes - MED Cities)

9.10  Introduction of the topic and presentation of the speakers and of the agenda (Fabio Tomasi – Area Science Park)

9.20  Slow Streets in Malta: an action plan to make sure mobility is safe, sustainable, healthy and efficient (Mario Fava – Local Councils’ Association Malta)

9.35 Managing urban mobility in a pandemic scenario, a European perspective (Ivo Cré – Polis)

9.50 Covid19 & Smart working: an opportunity for more sustainable cities and companies (Valerio Piras, Euromobility)

10.05 Roundtable and debate open to the public