A message from the future!


Dear all!
We are back and happy to present you our second letter from the future!
In this newsletter, you will find a selection of signals collected by a team of future-minded NRC FLIS horizon scanners on mobility and the “new normal”:
- Where and how to move in “new-normal” cities?
- Growing fear of public transportation.
Why do we do it? Because we want to learn from it and from each other. Because it’s fun and because we hope it can find its way into future reports and processes, such as the EU foresight system for the identification of emerging environmental issues (FORENV).

Where and how to move in “new-normal” cities?

The last few months have brought very significant changes into our lives, and this has let to changes in urban transport. In reponse to positive and negative effects on health, hygiene issues, walking and cycling issues came to the fore. Experimental measures have been taken, which were accompanied by lively interest and mixed echoes.
Real-time mapping of corona tracks shows the new division of urban space
Applications that can be used on cell phones (developed by cyclists' associations) have been very quickly updated with the temporary transformation of roads into bicycle paths to facilitate post-confinement mobility.
Average daily cycling attendance in France in 2020
Post-confinement bicycle use is increasing, regardless of the environment. However, the growth is greater in urban areas (+35% compared with +23% in suburban areas and +20% in rural areas).
The delay during the confinement period has now been made up in urban areas (+4% compared to 2019). This is not yet the case in the rest of the country (-12% in peri-urban and -14% in rural areas) but the situation is improving week by week.
In rural areas, with the summer vacations in week 28, there was a strong increase in the number of cyclists (+55% compared to the previous week) which suggests that cycling will be on the agenda for the vacations!
COVID-19 creates new momentum for cycling and walking. We can’t let it go to waste!
Emerging non-motorized transport (NMT) measures that have been adopted in response to COVID-19 include:
- Closing certain streets to motorized vehicles. In Oakland, the city closed nearly 10% of its streets.
- Expanding NMT space or creating new priority zones for cyclists and pedestrians, such as Vienna’s “shared spaces” (“Begegnungszonen”).
- Creating temporary or “pop-up” bike lanes through low-cost interventions (signage, traffic cones, concrete barriers), as seen in Lima or Berlin.
- Providing equipment and finance e.g. bike provision, bike commuter benefits, shower facilities at workplaces. In India, for instance, the Cycles4Change Challenge is helping cities build capacity to launch bikeshare systems or create pop-up bike lanes.
Corona transforms Switzerland into a bike country
During the lockdown, the total number of kilometers driven in Switzerland has decreased significantly, by about 40% compared to the baseline. What is more astonishing, however, is the fact that daily distances travelled by bicycle have approximately doubled, while fewer kilometers are covered by all other means of transport, with the decline being most marked in public transport.
Hot debates on transport in Budapest, Hungary
Since May, walkers and cyclists recapture the Pest Danube shore in weekends. In the same time experimental bicycle lanes deployed around the town triggered hot debates. Many see bike lanes as unused, rarely see cyclists on them, and this is out of proportion to how significantly they hinder car traffic. Contrary to this, the Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK) traffic count data shows that bicycle traffic of Grand Boulevard increased six fold in three months, thus becoming the second most popular cycling route in Budapest.
In early August, eighteen NGOs - working in urban development, community management, local affairs, transport and sustainable development - wrote a joint letter to the leaders of the capital and inner districts. NGOs see the question of bicycle lane as part of a comprehensive joint urban development system, thus elaborated complex mix of suggested measures.
Anyhow, the issue of the experimental bicycle lanes badly divides the Hungarian society. It reveals in the same time that the issue is not purely a transport management question. The way we drive, cycle, walk has a strong impact on retail, tourism and even property prices in the area. We hope to find answers that are acceptable to everyone.

Growing fear of public transportation

Everything except subway!
The return to work, for many French people, focuses on a major question: how to get to work whilst avoiding public transportation?
The question of travel safety is central for many. The option of cycling, walking, or car is being studied by everyone, as well as teleworking solutions, when possible, to simply avoid traveling.
Sleeper trains make a comeback across Europe thanks to COVID-19
Travelers are increasingly reluctant to risk air travel, departure lounges and security queues. Many would prefer an environmentally friendly alternative to short-haul flights, but Europe's high-speed rail network may not be able to cope with a surge in demand for train travel.

Next stop…

…the annual FLIS meeting on the 8-9 September! Come along!
In the meanwhile, keep your eyes open for all which speaks of a (better?) future to come!
We will be back with a next edition early October!
Warm wishes from Ana, Anne, Florian, Karin, Klaus, Miklós, Sylvie, Tereza & Teoman (NRC FLIS)

Information about the project: Growing the collection together!

We would greatly appreciate your help in making our collection of interesting bottom-up projects and initiatives from communities addressing sustainability challenges grow!
At the moment, we collect very widely and store it all on our shared pin board on Pearltrees.
Interested in more details about our project? Visit our working group on MS Teams to find more about the project.
For any questions please contact Ana.


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