The coronavirus pandemic has forced changes of an unprecedented scale to take place across the UK’s commuting networks. As businesses look to return to some form of on-site work, they are aware that many employees will not return to their former travel patterns, and that staff will have new expectations for flexible, reduced carbon, and COVID-secure travel.
The CBI and KPMG have published a new paper, Commuting beyond the coronavirus, that takes stock of these changes and what it will mean for both government policy and business behaviour going forwards.
The paper not only sets out the initial steps businesses, the government and transport operators will need to take to keep services running over the months ahead, but also looks beyond the immediate crisis to consider what changes can be made now to accelerate improvements to the journey to work for all.
Across the UK, business and the government have little desire to revert to all the norms of the pre-crisis economy, including how we travel to work. Commuting beyond the coronavirus sets out a vision for improving the commute to make it greener, more affordable, and more flexible in the years to come.
The report lays out steps that should be taken by government and business, including:
- Changing government advice against all but essential travel public transport as soon as capacity constraints are relaxed through the integration of safety measures
- Supporting transport operators as they adjust to new patterns of demand, acknowledging that public transport is the long-term answer to beating congestion and creating vibrant towns and cities
- Encouraging employers to be more proactive, reviewing their workforce’s travel patterns and supporting active travel options that can benefit their staff
- Investing in the infrastructure needed for more flexible ticketing, mass uptake of electric vehicles, and improving connectivity across the UK.
To read the full list of business and government recommendations, download Commuting beyond the coronavirus.
The CBI and KPMG will continue to provide further analysis on what businesses and government can do to improve commuter networks. However, the recommendations laid out here serve as an important starting point for conversations about what it truly means to build back better on public transport as the UK emerges from the pandemic.
If you would like to discuss our work on commuting or other infrastructure projects, please contact Freddie Hopkinson.