The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport has called on the government to mount a major pro-bus and active travel campaign to encourage continued reduction in car use as the country emerges from the lockdown. CILT argues that the objective of reducing carbon emissions should remain in the post-Covid recovery which “provides a unique and unrivalled opportunity to lock in the unintended consequence of the lockdown that virtually eliminated traffic congestion”.
The paper, ‘Rebuilding the bus market to meet the decarbonising challenge in a post-Covid world’, has been produced by the CILT’s bus & coach policy group. It states: “Covid-19 changes nothing if, without intervention, the way we travel reverts back to congestion and pollution.
“Delivering the emissions reduction needed from transport is a significant and sustained challenge and net zero demands a fresh approach; one that CILT believes must build on the impacts that Covid-19 has had on changing travel behaviours.”
CILT’s paper encourages government to continue to show the same commitment that it did before the pandemic and ensure funding is retained, but used differently than originally intended in order to mount a major pro-bus and active travel campaign.
Nick Richardson, chair, bus & coach policy group, CILT, says: “As it stands, there is a potential for managing the pandemic and improving air quality to be seen as mutually exclusive policy objectives, however we believe that this is the ideal starting point for redoubling progress on the route to net-zero.
“Key to preparing for the post-lockdown phase is to recognise that rebooting the bus and coach sector and enabling its contribution to net-zero needs commitment from central government, local authorities and operators.
“If we can use the reduction in travel that has been experienced during this pandemic, and enhance the bus and public transport offer, we will deliver a cleaner environment in addition to developing wider social benefits such as reducing loneliness, isolation and achieve improved mental health outcomes plus many economic objectives.”