FTVG 2020/21: Long-term implications of Covid-19 on transport planning and policy

by Emily Cowling, Charles Wain and Ian Woodhouse

Outline of project outputs


Covid-19 has had broad ranging impacts on society and its behaviours and habits. It has impacted how and where we conduct work, how we use our leisure time as well as our shopping and consumer patterns.  Whilst other research of Covid-19’s impact on transport has focused on the immediate reaction tothe pandemic and the short-term future in relation to post-Covid recovery, this research aims to consider the potential long-term (5-10 years) implications of Covid-19 for transport planning and policy. This research is also unique in that it aims to do this through gauging the opinions of transport practitioners to understand whether there are areas of consensus and divergence in the views of experts, specifically in respect of Covid-19’s long-term impact on travel patterns and transport and land use, policy and funding and decarbonisation.


An online survey was produced and shared to ask about the expected change in trends as a result of the pandemic with multiple choice questions ensuring that responses could be compared to highlight areas of consensus and divergence. Following on from this, a series of semi-structured interviews and a roundtable discussion were held with interested survey respondents to discuss the thematic areas identified, the uncertainty associated with trends and what the wider implications may be for transport planning discussions went into further detail in our thematic areas and discussed the rationale for responses provided, the uncertainty associated with trends and wider implications for transport planning and policy.

Headline Findings

A brief summary of some of our key findings from the survey responses, semi-structured interviews and roundtable discussion are listed below:

Based on the research findings, a set of recommendations have been identified with a particular
focus on the areas of greatest uncertainty. The researchers are supportive of the ‘decide and
provide’ approach to transport planning and see these areas of uncertainty as areas with the
greatest opportunity for influence. It is hoped the recommendations offered by this research will be
considered by decision makers to seize the opportunity for change that Covid-19 could provide in
transport planning and policy, to ensure the achievement of key objectives, such as decarbonisation.

Download the report here:  FTVG_Group1_Report

View the group’s infographics below:

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