What is the future of business transport?

One of the major questions that UK businesses are asking as they start to emerge from lockdown is whether the relationship between business and transport has changed forever? It’s a big subject that we’ve certainly been discussing at epyx over recent weeks – and one to which there are probably a wide range of answers.

Firstly, it should be pointed out that many, many commercial vehicle fleets and those providing essential services have continued to operate as normal for the past few months. For them, life hasn’t changed and is unlikely to alter in the future.

However, there are undoubtedly areas where substantial shifts in behaviour are possible, with results that are both positive and negative.

Commuting is likely to be impacted heavily. One study is predicting that there will be an additional million cars on the road this year as people move out of public transport in order to avoid the chance of infection. There are also indications that other modes of transport are being adopted, with a tripling of both moped and bicycle sales.

The impact of this could be enormous, with a dramatic loss of income for public transport organisations and, unless there are efforts to manage the larger volume of traffic, an increase in congestion.

Business journeys are likely to be affected in a more subtle way. Many, many organisations have discovered that they can work very effectively while their staff are spread across the country, linked only to each other and to customers by video conferencing.

While most people would probably agree that Zoom or Microsoft Teams are not substitutes for all meetings, they can certainly be used for many. Perhaps that monthly account management meeting with a major client can now take place online every other month? This could substantially reduce company car and grey fleet journeys.

Of course, it is possible to find transport experts who predict that people will largely return to their pre-coronavirus travel habits but, to us, this is certainly a moment when change seems likely. We’d be fascinated to hear your ideas and observations.

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