Media briefing: Coronavirus and transport – challenges and opportunities

By George Smeeton, Head of Communications @@GSmeeton

Published:01 June 2020

As the UK emerges from the coronavirus lockdown policymakers are considering economic stimulus measures, with Boris Johnson recently highlighting the need to ‘build back better’ with a ‘fairer, greener and more resilient’ economy. But what does this mean in the context of transport? The imperative will be to boost jobs and economic growth. Yet doing this with ‘business-as-usual’ policies would mean increasing air pollution – which is increasingly linked to respiratory diseases, including Covid-19.

Building on changes that people have already made to how they get around during the crisis, cities such as Milan are changing the way people move – boosting cycling and walking – with some UK cities following suit. Meanwhile the UK government is preparing to bring forward the phase-out of the internal combustion engine as a key policy to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. What scope does the crisis present for building a different transport system that reduces the burden on health as well as congestion and emissions – and that would be popular?

This briefing will consider:

  • What transport system do we want for the future, and whether the crisis presents an opportunity to rebuild towards it;
  • How stimulus measures could be used to promote this future;
  • What such measures would produce in terms of jobs, near-term economic growth and health improvements.

Speakers:

  • Andy Street, Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands;
  • Edmund King, President of the AA;
  • Scarlett McNally, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and cycling champion;
  • Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England;
  • Richard Black, Director, ECIU (chair).

The briefing is from 10:15 – 11:45am, Wednesday 3 June. If you would like to attend, please email george.smeeton@eciu.net.

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