October 28, 2020

Private vehicle will gain space in post-Covid-19 mobility

The two-meter social distance between people, the fear of catching on public transport or the reduction in passenger capacity to avoid a new spike in the pandemic will make the private vehicle gain more space in the new post-Covid mobility- 19, according to experts.

Recent surveys of Ipsos or the Real Automóvil Club de España (Race) show this. The first, carried out at the end of February among 1,620 Chinese citizens, reveals that fear of the coronavirus has caused the private car to move from third to first place as the preferred means of transport to the detriment of buses and subways.

In the case of the Race, in its latest report on habits and use of transport during confinement – carried out from April 16 to 19 through 1,187 interviews with drivers – it is highlighted that 20% of those who went to work on public transport plan to start to use their car, like 25% of those who were walking.


But not everyone is betting that the car will be the majority option. For Ramón Ledesma, from the consultancy Pons Seguridad Vial, the new mobility that will come after the confinement will play a main role in the two-wheeled vehicle: moped, motorcycle, bicycle and scooter.

This was predicted by a meeting organized by the consultancy on “How will the return to work be”, in which the Secretary General of Traffic (DGT), María Lidón, and the president of the Spanish Association of labor prevention services also participated ( Asepla), Concepción Martín.

According to Ledesma, there are studies that indicate that public transport, due to social distancing measures, will only have the capacity for the 30% of users who use it now, so the remaining 70% will have to move otherwise.

For the three experts, the problem is that all cars “will not fit” and the move to the motorcycle or bicycle could lead to an increase in the loss ratio among its users, which should be tackled by restructuring access to large cities and the reordering of urban space.

This would entail, in his opinion, “calm traffic” by reducing speed to 30 km / h generically on most streets so that citizens, transport vehicles and those with two and four wheels can live together.


For the moment, the fourth vice president of the Government and minister for the ecological Transition and the demographic challenge, Teresa Ribera, has asked the municipalities to promote the use of the bicycle as a means of transport, mainly in municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants within the de-escalation of COVID-19.

In the letter that he sent them, he reminds them that there are studies that associate a greater impact of the coronavirus with air pollution, so the massive use of private cars must be avoided.

Ribera defends in his plan the reservation of the right lane in large arteries for the bicycle, the limitation to 30 km / h on one-lane roads in each direction and the establishment of corridors in peri-urban areas that communicate polygons, neighboring municipalities or university campuses.


Meanwhile, the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, José Luis Ábalos, wants to design, together with the different administrations and economic sectors, a “safe and coordinated” transport system for the return to activity, since the return of It will be under “a great level of stress”.

In the current alert phase decreed by the coronavirus, the transport system is very restricted to avoid contagions, since nearly 30 million Spaniards are still at home waiting for the de-escalation to begin in four phases on May 4 ( two weeks minimum for each one) set by the central government.

In a draft, the ministry proposes, in order to reduce rush hour, the prior reservation in certain time zones to use the subway or commuter trains, to establish a maximum 50% of occupation of seated seats, one user for every two square meters if the displacement It is done standing up, delaying the opening of shops or analyzing school and university schedules.

Javier Millán Jaro


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