2020 into 2021 – the largest ever travel behavioural change phenomenon!

Lisa Bloomer and Rachel Evans, Travel Demand Management Technical Leads, Atkins

We are emerging from Travel Demand Management (TDM) of an epic proportion. The Covid-19 pandemic turned travel demand on its head literally overnight in March 2020. This was emergency TDM in response to a public health crisis. It wasn’t planned and calculated like other major programmes such as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It wasn’t short and sharp either – 13 months on and we are still experiencing unprecedented scales of demand management for commuting and leisure.

TPM 2021 is hugely exciting, as it will be the first time in 2021 that the transport planning community has come together (albeit virtually!), to reflect on what we have learned from the biggest ever forced TDM exercise and how we reposition the ‘4Rs’ of TDM – ‘reduce’, ‘retime’, ‘remode’, ‘reroute’. Rethinking as a 5th ‘R’?

Reduce has done the heavy lifting throughout the lockdown period and will continue to do so to an extent as home working becomes integral to company’s agile working policies. Atkins, like many other professional sector companies, is reducing office space by 50% to embrace efficiency in the use of real estate and support employee agile working and wellbeing. However, as restrictions ease and people seek physical and social interaction with others, there’s a prime opportunity for transport planners to maximise capitalise on the other 3Rs.

We look forward to bringing the following questions to TPM 2021:

  • Hybrid working – the balance between home and office. How does this turn the daily commute on its head – reducing, retiming, rerouting and remoding? Can flexible public transport ticketing become super flexible?  
  • How does TDM encourage a more open and inquisitive mindset of people to trial new things – mobility hubs, micromobility, eBikes, escooters, travel credits? Remoding and rethinking
  • Shifting retail patterns – shop locally, shop digitally by local click and collect – a great era for active travel remode?
  • Does a boom in domestic tourism and leisure weekends away stoke a major public transport retime?

There’s a lot to cover at TPM 2021, but what a great platform for sharing innovation and creativity in the brave new world of TDM!

Chamberlain Clock, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham UK
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