Did COVID-19 slow down or speed up Mobility developments?

When coronavirus appeared in 2020, many industries experienced a rapid drop down in productivity across the globe. Factories had to stop their production for a short period of time and the uncertain environment has created new challenges for different industries. The decrease in traffic forced mobility industry to create new innovative solutions that are financially sustainable during a possible new pandemic wave 

The number of daily flights in March 2020 decreased by 90% (comparing to 2019) and still the aviation industry tries to get back to the 2019 traffic intensity level. Since the pandemic, traffic in many cities decreased by 50% and more and more capitals are converting on-street parking spaces into bike lines. In Hungary, citizens can apply for public funding in purchasing e-bikes; Paris local government announced to spend 300 million euros on improving the cycling infrastructure in the city. These two examples from different parts of Europe show that mobility seeks to find new ways adopting coronavirus implicated challenges.  


The first question we need to think about is that: Are we ready for new mobility innovations? The answer is yes. Coronavirus pandemic speed up the developments of new innovations because we had to adjust to a new, more environmentally sustainable world during the COVID-19 crisis. We worked from home, we travelled outside rush hours, we learned what it means to be flexible. COVID-19 has created a demand made mobility, therefore companies need to integrate all the new modes of transportation, such as e-scooters, e-bikes, electric vehicles and hybrid public transportation to create a more flexible environment. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) might be the perfect solution for that.  

A big innovation citizens seek for an integrated platform where all e-mobility services are available. Today we experience all kind of apps for different transportation modules, like where to find an e-scooter near me, or where to find an electric charging station around me for my e-vehicle. In order to promote MaaS, local governments need to invest more money in smart city solutions to provide real-time on demand services for their citizens. Mobility as a Service covers all segments from public transport to parking management to enhance the number of urban mobility innovations.  


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Mobility as a Service relies on Big Data generated from transportation, data and knowledge sharing is key in implementing new mobility innovations. The COVID-19 crisis created new KPIs for researchers to look under the hypothesis if e-mobility is the future. One perfect example for that is the traffic change in the Netherlands. The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management collected data shows the traffic congestions in the Netherlands for the first months of the last three years: Dutch roads have never experienced a rapid decrease in traffic jam intensity in the past few years since the COVID-19 lockdown. This information provides a great basis for new mobility developments in the Netherlands.  

chartSource: Data.Europa.Eu 


COVID-19 has shed light on the need for intelligent infrastructure, more sensors and devices must be implemented to provide traffic intensity indicated smart road management. The traffic during the pandemic didn’t expand linear which means we should find new methods in modernizing traffic management. Artificial Intelligence based infrastructure is the future, but autonomous/driverless cars are already making their marks on the road.  


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