Imagine a World without Road Congestion

Imagine a World without Road Congestion
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Kapsch TrafficCom

The Impact of Road Congestion

Today, over 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050, this figure is expected to increase to nearly 70%, adding some 2.5 billion more people living in cities. This projection, combined with the growth of private car ownership in emerging markets, means there will be an unprecedented increase in traffic and pollution, heavily impacting the quality of life in cities more than ever.

Urban Infrastructure Cannot Keep Pace

Citizens in the Americas, Europe, and Australia are not at all satisfied with the traffic flow in their countries. Nearly 70 percent are especially unhappy about congestion in city centers during rush hours. The top three negative effects people complain about: the environment and air quality suffer, travel times rise, and stress levels increase.

The Kapsch TrafficCom index wants to find out what citizens think about traffic today and in the future. The survey asked people about their current traffic situation, road congestion, the negative effects of emissions caused by traffic, and strategies to improve traffic management. What should government/municipalities do to reduce emissions, and what personal strategies exist to deal with mobility? The survey was conducted with the support of a professional market research institute.

A total of 9,000 participants in nine countries were questioned in a ratio reflecting each country’s population: USA, Argentina, Chile, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Australia.

Effects of Covid-19 Pandemic on Road Congestion

The Covid-19 pandemic has markedly reduced travel. Short-term changes in travel behavior include more people working from home, fewer non-essential trips being made, and a significant decrease in transit ridership. But has this development the potential to substantially change our mobility behavior? As we try to anticipate travel patterns in a post-Covid world, we propose four potential future scenarios.

Summary

Improving personal mobility by reducing urban congestion is a primary focus of transport agencies. While congestion is normally a major problem, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to significant short-term reductions in personal travel, resulting in noticeable improvements in network performance and air quality.

As the world recovers from the pandemic, we envision that it is likely over the long-run for personal travel to rebound and approach pre-crisis congestion conditions. In the interim, we have a golden opportunity to experience a world with less congestion and strategize ways to change travel behavior and make our transport systems more efficient and resilient so we can improve mobility for everyone.

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