Since the onset of the pandemic, transit ridership has fallen substantially, and transit operators are struggling to find the right balance between keeping people moving, especially essential workers, and sufficiently protecting transit workers from the risk of exposure. There are also serious concerns about budget shortfalls with the precipitous drop-off in ridership. To what extent will people return to transit as stay-at-home orders are lifted? Which temporary service changes, if any, will be made permanent?
Transportation Network Companies
TNC ridership has decreased dramatically as a result of COVID-19 and companies like Uber and Lyft have been pivoting to delivery to help fill the gap. Drivers for TNCs have expressed concerns about their safety, and long-term questions about the lack of a safety net for drivers persist. Will ridership pick up again as restrictions are lifted, particularly if some shift away from transit? Will companies like Uber and Lyft, which were not yet profitable before the pandemic, have to raise prices in order to remain viable?
In the current climate of global travel restrictions and public safety concerns, many micromobility companies have pulled their vehicles off city streets. At the same time, bikeshare ridership has increased significantly in cities such as New York and Chicago and some companies are offering discounts and free trips to essential workers. As cities begin to move again, will micromobility be seen as an essential component of resilient, sustainable transportation networks?
Under stay-at-home orders and phased re-openings, people have changed their use of streets, open spaces, and buildings. How can cities manage this behavior in the short-term, and create the most beneficial long-term outcomes as we move into less restricted phases of the crisis?
E-Commerce & Retail
The closures of ‘non-essential’ businesses have forced experimentation with e-commerce and blurred the line between digital and physical stores. As states enter new phases of reopening, which of these new e-commerce buying behaviors and services will stick? What will stores have to do to make customers and employees feel safe and comfortable?
With the regular patterns of life, work, and play coming to a standstill, many people and businesses are adapting their surroundings in makeshift ways. Some of these modifications will only be temporary, but depending on the severity and duration of this crisis how many of these measures will result in lasting trends in our built environment?
With stay-at-home orders in place many people have placed online orders to substitute for trips to the store, which means increased demand for delivery. In order to meet this increased demand, companies like Instacart have embarked on hiring sprees and companies like Uber and Lyft are pivoting to delivery. Concurrently, frontline delivery workers have organized strikes to call attention to the need for better protection and hazard pay, and access to delivery has proven to be uneven. Even as stores begin to reopen, it is likely that at least some of the increased demand for delivery will be sustained. How will this impact curb management? Will we need more designated loading zones and parcel lockers in the public domain?
Here are a collection of articles, podcast, webinars, and other resources that we've found interesting and/or useful that aren't directly related to any of the more specific topics we've been delving into.