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Author Topic: How do we take the lid back off?  (Read 2055 times)
grahame
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« on: April 05, 2020, 09:36:31 am »

Will we need those road-widening, queue-busting, capacity-increasing transport schemes for the future?

From Forbes Magazine

Quote
According to lockdown-related mobility data released by Google on March 29, retail- and recreation-based motor traffic on Britain’s roads is down by 85%. If U.K. residents get used to reduced car usage it could have a greater impact on road transport than anything else transport related that has happened in the last 50 years, believes the President of the U.K’s Automobile Association, Edmund King.

He does not think motorists will go “binge driving” after the lifting of restrictions imposed to halt the spread of the coronavirus:

“Once this crisis is over, it could have the opposite effect—rather than everyone jumping into their cars, I think some people might begin to think, ‘do I really need to use my car every day?’”

He may be the head of a motoring organization—the U.K. equivalent of the U.S. “Triple A”—but he is acclimatizing to working from home, and driving less.

Talk / discussions have started to move towards "We slammed the lid on this, but isn't it going to be very much harder for us to lift the lid in a due course, in a controlled and safe way?"
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2020, 10:35:26 am »

Will we need those road-widening, queue-busting, capacity-increasing transport schemes for the future?

From Forbes Magazine

Quote
According to lockdown-related mobility data released by Google on March 29, retail- and recreation-based motor traffic on Britain’s roads is down by 85%. If U.K. residents get used to reduced car usage it could have a greater impact on road transport than anything else transport related that has happened in the last 50 years, believes the President of the U.K’s Automobile Association, Edmund King.

He does not think motorists will go “binge driving” after the lifting of restrictions imposed to halt the spread of the coronavirus:

“Once this crisis is over, it could have the opposite effect—rather than everyone jumping into their cars, I think some people might begin to think, ‘do I really need to use my car every day?’”

He may be the head of a motoring organization—the U.K. equivalent of the U.S. “Triple A”—but he is acclimatizing to working from home, and driving less.

Talk / discussions have started to move towards "We slammed the lid on this, but isn't it going to be very much harder for us to lift the lid in a due course, in a controlled and safe way?"

I think the realisation that working from home is a sustainable BAU option for many, not just in a crisis, and its favourable impact on work/life balance will lead to an expectation and demand from employees for it to become part of their working pattern, and this will impact on all forms of transport as the number of people doing the daily commute reduces.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2020, 10:45:01 am »

I think the realisation that working from home is a sustainable BAU option for many, not just in a crisis, and its favourable impact on work/life balance will lead to an expectation and demand from employees for it to become part of their working pattern, and this will impact on all forms of transport as the number of people doing the daily commute reduces.

Took me a minute (call me "slow from Melksham") to get BAU to "business as usual".

Totally agree with your analysis.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2020, 11:49:13 am »

Indeed, things were slowly heading that way anyway, and that might not be such a bad thing for the railway industry.  Especially certain franchises with a heavy commuting bias, like SWR, SouthEastern and Southern, that might not need to park up 100s of carriages between the morning and evening peaks and therefore might be able to run with much more efficient asset utilisation.
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ellendune
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2020, 12:42:30 pm »

I think the realisation that working from home is a sustainable BAU option for many, not just in a crisis, and its favourable impact on work/life balance will lead to an expectation and demand from employees for it to become part of their working pattern, and this will impact on all forms of transport as the number of people doing the daily commute reduces.

Took me a minute (call me "slow from Melksham") to get BAU to "business as usual".

Totally agree with your analysis.

In my case it prompted the company I work for to do some small but significant changes to the IT services and really have made it BAU for me and I do wonder when if ever I will go back to working from the office every working day.
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2020, 01:07:02 pm »

Many businesses that were ‘ahead of the curve’ were certainly not expecting people in five days a week in recent years anyway.  I think there will be few cases where people will just work from home all the time, but can see a three or perhaps even two day week at the office becoming fairly normal - the benefits of face to face interaction remain difficult to achieve perfectly on conference calls.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2020, 04:07:51 pm »

As someone now getting used to homeworking for the first time in his sixties, I agree that there looks like an emerging "modal shift" in travel to work patterns. Having participated in my first departmental virtual social function on Friday I am also not  quite so worried about the social isolation aspects of this.

There are though other aspects that deserve consideration.

Firstly, I can see that there is likely to be a proportion of the population who will be sufficiently worried about picking up infections on public transport that they will avoid it even when there is no current epidemic. It has been interesting to see how some younger colleagues have reacted, especially those with relatives in at risk categories. This may further reduce public transport use, but lessen the reduction in road traffic.

Secondly, it will be interesting to see how different places are affected. I have been struck by the difference between the location of the main concentrations of offices (and therefore travel to work patterns) in different parts of the country. There's two quite different patterns in the Thames Valley and the "Solent Conurbation" (Southampton and Portsmouth). In Reading, the town centre is still where the main professional practices and other service sector businesses tend to locate their offices. Indeed, the international accountancy firm KPMG is relocating back into the town centre having moved out to the Arlington Business Park at Theale in the 1990s. By contrast many equivalent businesses in the Solentside area have relocated to business parks alongside the M3 and M27 - all the way from Chandler's Ford to Havant. Many are at places some distance from the nearest railway station, and that nearest station may be on the slow line that meanders between Southampton and Portsmouth via Netley and Bursledon.

If the increasing trend to home working continues, which is more likely to suffer? Or will the patterns of public transport use become more differentiated in different areas?

Finally, away from work, I fear that the era of easy overseas travel to almost all the world other than "failed states" may be over for the time being. It is difficult to see how many third world nations are going to be able to control coronavirus by social distancing, and not difficult to see that the closing of international borders might become a regular response to future outbreaks of disease. The silver lining to this cloud may be the revival of domestic tourism/holiday making - which should be seen as an opportunity by our railway industry.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2020, 06:08:24 pm »

From my point of view, as a cyclist, it appears that the 15% still on the road are the least considerate of the road users. Lack of passing space, despite almost clear roads, and I get the impression far higher speeds. Did I read somewhere that somebody was recorded doing 100+ in a 40 mph limit.

Not particularly what I would want as the new normal.
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2020, 06:44:06 pm »

From my point of view, as a cyclist, it appears that the 15% still on the road are the least considerate of the road users. Lack of passing space, despite almost clear roads, and I get the impression far higher speeds. Did I read somewhere that somebody was recorded doing 100+ in a 40 mph limit.

Not particularly what I would want as the new normal.

Having dropped my daughter off for her supermarket job earlier today, I was driving in a 20mph limit and slowing for a red light when I was overtaken by eight or so lycra-clad cyclists - all of whom completely ignored the red light and then proceeded to ride two-abreast in close proximity.
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grahame
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2020, 04:54:34 am »

I made some notes a few days back ... sharing here as this thread is covering the bigger question of "what are we taking the lid back off?" as well as how do we do it?".   Not intended to be a complete list; some items provocative; some big things probably missed and little things given undue prominence.

More people working from home, medium and long term
Death of the high street as people move more online
People not returning to public transport
More staycations, less long distance holidays
Respect for the emergency, health and utility services
Cutting of food waste and food miles - a return to seasonality
Steps towards cleaner climate; climate change and pollution benefits
A more caring society with compassion for others
Police state and elections on hold / voter ID checks
Consolidation of heritage railways - fewer around
Argument about returning services and some may never return
Spike in the birth rate around Christmas but fewer children born to casually aquainted parents
Increase in domestic abuse
Burying bad news and changes sneaked in
Acts of madmen and increased suicide rate
Donald Trump will still be US president in April 2021
In a year, we will still be in trouble; in a decade Covid-19 will be ancient history
Strange looking people with Mum's haircut!
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2020, 06:49:45 am »

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I was driving in a 20mph limit and slowing for a red light when I was overtaken by eight or so lycra-clad cyclists - all of whom completely ignored the red light and then proceeded to ride two-abreast in close proximity.

I regret to say that I am not surprised. Unfortunately the "sport" end of cycling all to often resemble the road behaviour of the 15% of motorists I referred to, with a holier than thou attitude as well.
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2020, 07:12:07 am »

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I was driving in a 20mph limit and slowing for a red light when I was overtaken by eight or so lycra-clad cyclists - all of whom completely ignored the red light and then proceeded to ride two-abreast in close proximity.

I regret to say that I am not surprised. Unfortunately the "sport" end of cycling all to often resemble the road behaviour of the 15% of motorists I referred to, with a holier than thou attitude as well.

I suspect that just about every moving activity has its share of participants who have a need for speed.  From the "boy racers" on the road through the downhill skiers who flash through the nursery areas, and I understand some pretty silly things have been done by speedboats ... thank goodness we don't have racing trains, though even there some pretty silly stuff was done in the past - Salisbury 1906 comes to mind.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2020, 07:36:50 am »

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I was driving in a 20mph limit and slowing for a red light when I was overtaken by eight or so lycra-clad cyclists - all of whom completely ignored the red light and then proceeded to ride two-abreast in close proximity.

I regret to say that I am not surprised. Unfortunately the "sport" end of cycling all to often resemble the road behaviour of the 15% of motorists I referred to, with a holier than thou attitude as well.

I suspect that just about every moving activity has its share of participants who have a need for speed.  From the "boy racers" on the road through the downhill skiers who flash through the nursery areas, and I understand some pretty silly things have been done by speedboats ... thank goodness we don't have racing trains, though even there some pretty silly stuff was done in the past - Salisbury 1906 comes to mind.

Freud had a theory about it.
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2020, 08:25:51 am »

I rather think all assumptions pointing to much reduced private vehicle usage post-Coronavirus are misguided. Going back to the 2000 'Integrated Transport' scheme courtesy of Mr. Prescott, and earlier, it is clear that all government attempts to get people out of their cars have failed miserably. I see no reason why that will change and I am certain that once the lockdown ends traffic volumes will rapidly return to previous levels.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2020, 09:04:52 am »

I rather think all assumptions pointing to much reduced private vehicle usage post-Coronavirus are misguided. Going back to the 2000 'Integrated Transport' scheme courtesy of Mr. Prescott, and earlier, it is clear that all government attempts to get people out of their cars have failed miserably. I see no reason why that will change and I am certain that once the lockdown ends traffic volumes will rapidly return to previous levels.

I think you may be right, and I think that if there is one thing that has been brought into stark relief by the current crisis in terms of public transport, it is that the car is King.
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