University of Leeds: Exchanging Cars for Walking – India Education | Latest Education News | Global Educational News

People now routinely use their cars less and drive more since the first COVID-19 lockdown, according to new research.

Weekly car traffic has remained 10% lower than pre-pandemic levels as large numbers of people have reorganized their lives to travel less in the past two years.

The study also found that car ownership has fallen: since the pandemic began, 14% of households that had two cars now have only one.

But bus use was 80% of the level of pre-pandemic at the end of January 2022, with rail use at 60%.

The research team analyzed national datasets and insights from a survey in 10 areas of the UK to investigate how the new travel behavior could support non-zero carbon ambitions.

Co-author Greg Marsden, Professor of Transportation Management at the University’s Institute for Transportation Studies, said: “Some of our findings increase thinking about transportation policy.

“Society’s capacity to innovate suggests that we can use the learning of the pandemic to plan for less traffic. However, we must do so in order to reach our climate goals.

“In light of the war in Ukraine and rising fuel prices and concerns about energy security, we need to redouble our efforts to get better access to the things people need without more travel to get them.”

Not just for leisure
The research team found that more people ran more often than before the pandemic, and not just for leisure. In June 2021, people reported walking three times a week, which was 159% more than before the pandemic. The researchers said this means we need to spend more on improving our local walking and cycling areas.

For those who can, working from home has played a critical role in reducing traffic levels. Even if people who have worked from home go on a trip again half of their working week, there will still be a 16% reduction in car commuting miles.

The authors of the report, from the Decarbon8 Network and the Center for Research on Energy Solutions (CREDS), recommend active management of the return to office work, to kick-start sustainable commuting with public transport, cycling and walking.

The report, ‘Less is more: Turning travel into a post-pandemic society’, points out that the accessibility of key services locally, easily on foot or by bike, is essential for a more sustainable future.