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Author Topic: How do we take the lid back off?  (Read 2103 times)
grahame
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« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2020, 09:19:12 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.


But what is the overall traffic balance for private cars ... based on a potential strong upwards pressure for a mode of travel that maintains distance from other people who are not a part of the household unit, and a potential strong downward pressure based on much increased home working?

We talk of the (rail) peaks not returning to anything like their prior level as people discover they can work from home - but rail commute numbers are dwarfed by numbers of people who have driven to work prior to recent weeks, and they will have the same pressures / motivations to work from home where they can.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2020, 12:26:06 pm »

Quote
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.
This is a shame, not only for what they're doing in itself but because of the bad image it allows people to form and magnify. The two clubs I know have scrapped all group activities, most are still doing solo rides but limiting them to an hour or so. And turbo trainers (ie indoor exercise bikes) have apparently become an unobtainable item as demand outstrips supply. It really is only a minority who are behaving irresponsibly.
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« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2020, 12:48:34 pm »

My rather optimistic view of this is that certainly the peak pressure on the railway will be relieved, this might be the rather extreme way of limiting everyday travel into major metropolis's for work but we can't go on forever throwing money at a problem which only increases with every new upgrade. Rail capacity demands will be different in the future, perhaps a bit more room for freight will become available.

This may also have a great effect on local shopping. Parades and the local corner shop may come back into business and the edge of town Hypermarkets dominance reduced (this would be very welcome in the Reading suburb of Calcot where I am as there is little in the way of local shops anymore and everyone is in the car to fetch goods). Even town centres could be revived providing shared office space for people working remotely from their company (hot desks? I'm not sure, I've never experienced work in the same spot all day). In my opinion, after this will be the time for the Government to start focussing transport investment locally, where it will have the biggest effect on everybody, rather than the interurban travel focus we've had for the past few decades. More will walk, run and cycle to places, it will be time to actually improve those footpaths and remove the pedestrian hostile road crossings we associate with post war urban transport schemes. I've there is one thing that people might realise out of all this, it's that they can walk further than they perhaps thought, and that things may not have been as far away on foot as perceived from inside a car.

You never know, in ten years time the A33 and IDR in Reading might be single carriageway roads. Third Thames bridge? Na, we don't need it Wink
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stuving
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« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2020, 04:54:47 pm »

The title of this thread is explicitly about the transition to the new normal, but all that follows is about that afterwards itself. I think that's probably a waste of effort now, as is the similar outpouring more widely in all media. It's the transition - what goes back to normal (i.e. neonormal) first, and what stays longer - that will tell us what the new normal is to be. Several reasons for that:

1. it will last longer

2. it will be more recent in time so better remembered

3. it will be explicitly an attempt to be more normal, while now isn't and can be discounted as an interlude of unreality

4. it will become the new normal, with no clear boundary felt at the time and quite likely none agreed on afterwards.

Of course the starting point of the transition will be where we are now plus whatever changes but isn't labelled "the start of the unlocking". But some of that will just stop, and people will go back to their previous with ... well, a huge amount of haggling with the Treasury for a start. Which restrictions will have to remain is going to be shaped by the infection control measures - whether we follow the German/South Korean model or one of the others, for example.

One aspect of that is how much of the virus there will still be knocking about in the public. Even with full and even over-enthusiastic testing and contact-tracing, obviously there will be people catching it and some of them getting very ill. What implications will that have - such as will specific extra restrictions apply to slightly/more/most vulnerably groups until an effective vaccine has been deployed?

It's already been mooted that release from confinement will be by age (in part, anyway), with those at least risk of dying coming out first (e.g. age band 20-30). But that leads to a higher rate of infection among that group, even it they suffer less from it. That only works if those at higher risk have few interactions with them, so its practicality is not clear. Also, where will they go when they get ill and have to be looked after in isolation? We don't have South Korea's isolation wards; will we need them?

There's a related question, which may be hard to separate when it happens, in the rebound from now. I suggested in another thread that the economic aftermath will be more about excess demand and inflation that intractable enduring depression. In non-financial terms, there will be people rushing out trying to do whatever they haven't been doing over spring/early summer (at least) all at once in a short interval. How long will that go on? Will it start so soon that businesses haven't recovered yet? Is there any planning for that?


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MVR S&T
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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2020, 08:48:48 pm »

Transition period for rail travel would need some managing, to maintain 2 metres apart for the whole journey, perhaps only advance tickets, with a seat reservation, in a train where only every 4th set is reservable to maintain social distancing? No turn up on the day travel permited.
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ellendune
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« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2020, 10:14:19 pm »

I predict that the transition will be:

a) gradual possibly age related or sector related
b) involve a large amount of testing and contact tracing - so these will have to be in place first
c) will require continued social distancing so:
    (1) will impact public transport capacity so fewer people will be able to travel leading to continued working from home
    (2) will mean workplaces will need more space so will continue to encourage working from home as far as possible
d) will restrict large gatherings for quite some time

The timing will depend on:

a) how quickly the lock down brings down the infection rate
b) how quickly the testing and contact tracing infrastructure is in place
c) whether and when effective treatments come along.

Needless to say I expect to be working from home for some time yet. 
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MVR S&T
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« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2020, 10:29:19 pm »

And the use of face masks for shopping and travel on public transport, though infections way in can be though the eyes, my worry is where do I obtain a mask? and how often should they be washed, therefore I would need at least 3, and how should they be removed, we had training course at work a few years ago, on how to remove protective gloves, most thought it a bit of a joke at the time, being in an aerospace electronics enviroment, but having done some truly horible jobs on the track, in my second life, where steam engine sit and fill up with coal/water, in the tar like 'stuff' certainly good training.
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Lee
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« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2020, 08:58:57 am »

France now appears to be aiming for gradual deconfinement from May 11. I found this interesting interview with the SNCF CEO. English translation below:

Quote from: francetvinfo
Rail traffic should resume gradually between deconfinement and the beginning of summer but passengers will have to wear masks, said Wednesday April 15, SNCF CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou.

SNCF CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou requests the obligation to wear masks for train passengers as soon as the containment is lifted. He specifies that his company will not be able to supply them but undertakes to put hydroalcoholic gel at the disposal of travelers in stations, at the exit of the platforms and in the toilets of TGV.

The obligation to wear masks would make it possible to lift on board trains rules of distancing which "seem very, very complicated to tackle", explained  Jean-Pierre Farandou, during a hearing in the Senate on April 15. "If we are required to put a meter or a meter and a half between each passenger, with 100% of trains, it carries only 20% of what we usually carry.  So it does not work!", Argues the CEO of SNCF.

Traffic will gradually resume after deconfinement

Another promise: the systematic and regular disinfection of the oars. Jean-Pierre Farandou first plans for the main lines  "perhaps, compared to the current offer, a doubling of the offer during the first weeks", which would make it pass from 6 to 7% to almost 15%. He hopes to run 20% of TGVs in late May, half in June and all in July. The recovery rate would even be faster for the TER, RER and Transiliens trains.

For TGVs, the equation is also economical for SNCF, since these unsubsidized trains are only profitable if the occupancy rate reaches 60%. The company currently does not sell more than one seat in two.

This "road map" could evolve according to health guidelines, a fortiori if certain regions were to be deconfigured after others, noted Jean-Pierre Farandou.

If this approach means that by the end of May, I have a viable train timetable to somewhere by the sea such as Saint Brieuc or Paimpol, a beach to walk along, and a flask of tea and a pack lunch in my backpack, then that will do for me for starters.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2020, 08:33:07 pm »

The trouble with any national plan is that there is no national infection curve. It varies from city to city and region to region. In UK, France and Spain, the national capitals are from a few days to two weeks ahead of the rest of their respective countries. So if you start to unwind lockdown when the infection rates have declined sufficiently in London/Paris/Madrid, other parts of the country will be just hitting their peaks and the most remote places (which also tend to have the least health facilities) will still be some way down the upward curve. Germany, with its federal system and lesser dominance of any one city, has an advantage here, but not one we can replicate.
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stuving
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« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2020, 08:45:26 pm »

The trouble with any national plan is that there is no national infection curve. It varies from city to city and region to region. In UK, France and Spain, the national capitals are from a few days to two weeks ahead of the rest of their respective countries. So if you start to unwind lockdown when the infection rates have declined sufficiently in London/Paris/Madrid, other parts of the country will be just hitting their peaks and the most remote places (which also tend to have the least health facilities) will still be some way down the upward curve. Germany, with its federal system and lesser dominance of any one city, has an advantage here, but not one we can replicate.

That's not how it works. If the behaviour change ("lockdown") happens nationwide at one time, and reduces the reproduction rate of the disease below one, it will start to decrease wherever it was on its upswing. And if it starts to decrease, it must have past its peak - first in infections, then (after a week) in cases, then (another week) in hospitalisations, the (another week) deaths. (Time delays very roughly in weeks.)

And nowhere (among here or similar countries) was the infection anywhere near its natural peak with normal behaviour - that's the curve that led to a predicted total of roughly 500,00 deaths. But the unknowns in all this are huge, even with the best data available.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2020, 09:10:55 pm »

I'm talking about releasing the lockdown, not introducing it. The idea is to release the damping effect of the lockdown at a time when infection rate is coming down. This means the rate will start to increase again, with a delay. Before the rate gets too high, lockdown is reimposed, so keeping cases at a level where, in theory at least, health services can cope. Repeat for as long as necessary. The idea being that cases are never too many at any one time but society/economy can function more 'normally' during the release periods. The problem is that if the phasing is set by what's happening in eg London, the damping effect of lockdown will be released when rates are still climbing in some other places, thus exacerbating the situation locally.
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« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2020, 09:52:14 pm »

A survey from South Western Railway:

https://www.research.net/r/SWRailway
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ellendune
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« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2020, 10:25:27 pm »

I'm talking about releasing the lockdown, not introducing it. The idea is to release the damping effect of the lockdown at a time when infection rate is coming down. This means the rate will start to increase again, with a delay. Before the rate gets too high, lockdown is reimposed, so keeping cases at a level where, in theory at least, health services can cope. Repeat for as long as necessary. The idea being that cases are never too many at any one time but society/economy can function more 'normally' during the release periods. The problem is that if the phasing is set by what's happening in eg London, the damping effect of lockdown will be released when rates are still climbing in some other places, thus exacerbating the situation locally.

Surely the economic impact of successive shutting and opening is likely to be even more damaging to business than a longer shut-down or semi-shut down.  Sounds a bit like the way successive waves of low level water pollution kill of aquatic life as the fish are hit again while in a weakened state from the last exposure. 

Better to release only enough that the infection rate does not go above 1. So cases do not multiply again. The way WHO suggests this is to go back to test-trace-isolate.  That is lots of testing, when a case is identified tract the contacts and them quarantine them so that if hey have the infection they cannot pass it on.  This would probably need to be combined with some more limited social distancing measures. 
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stuving
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« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2020, 11:46:08 pm »

Better to release only enough that the infection rate does not go above 1. So cases do not multiply again. The way WHO suggests this is to go back to test-trace-isolate.  That is lots of testing, when a case is identified tract the contacts and them quarantine them so that if hey have the infection they cannot pass it on.  This would probably need to be combined with some more limited social distancing measures. 

The "best buy" method being considered now is I think, closer to the South Korean example - driving the infection level in the population to low enough levels to keep it there by test and trace with minimal other measures. In a UK context, that means ramping up testing capacity and starting testing as many suspect cases in the general population as possible, to reduce the infection rate quickly. Then lift some restrictions, as justified, based on hospital admissions (the earliest reliable measure). Only by lowering the infection rate overall can you avoid the need for severe and very severe restrictions on the vulnerable and most vulnerable - or protect those in care homes, which has not been found practical so far anyway. But the Korean way is not just to test and trace, but then to isolate (e.g. in requisitioned hotels) all those traced contacts - without saying "please".

Comparisons with other countries may give some hints, subject to the obvious problems that they differ in relevant but hardly known ways. According to the Dutch themselves, they (like the Swedes) are avoiding strict rules and only trying to reduce the infection rate by the minimum set by hospital capacity (though bizarrely they label this "maximum control"). But the measures they have applied are very like here, if less heavy-handed. Logically, they should be doing more to protect all the vulnerables, but I've not found out if that's so.

Germany still looks like an anomaly, to be explained, but for us and the rest the message is much the same: the nature of this disease means that the "do minimum" objective calls for the full range of measures anyone thinks possible. And even then, the spread has only been stopped - it's not reducing fast enough to allow much relaxation for a long time.
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« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2020, 07:20:12 am »

I have yet to be convinced that test and trace will work in this country. We have been "promised" 100,000 tests per day by the end of the month. Other countries are doing 400,000 or 1,000,000 tests a day. Secondly contact tracing would require an army of people to do it by the traditional method, or a possible infringement of peoples privacy if done digitally. Contact tracing has traditionally been done by public health staff (who have been decimated since they were moved to local government) or primary care who almost certainly don't have the capacity.
Possibly more sensible thoughts can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contact_tracing
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