Evolution of Mobility Demand
The factors described above will cause the demand for mobility to change quite substantially in the countries around the Mediterranean.
Business trips will decrease and be replaced by online meetings, a situation that will continue for some time.
Some countries will adopt laws to facilitate teleworking, which will have two opposing consequences:
- A reduction in the volume of suburban and regional daily trips.
- An increase in certain long-distance trips due to the relocation of people who have left their homes in cities to live in towns or rural areas. They might prefer to book hotel rooms once or twice a week so they can go to the office.
For companies, this rise in teleworking could lead to substantial savings in office rental, since companies could set up shared offices or hot desks for coworking.
Teleworking will also be the norm in university studies, remote exams, remote medical consultations, etc. Furthermore, growth of the circular economy will have an impact on passenger and freight transport.
In cities, traditional modes of transport will be partially replaced by so-called “soft” mobility, which will require different investments in infrastructure and new travel regulations.
Tourism will continue to increase, but more environmentally friendly modes of transport will be more common. Stigmatization of air travel (flight shaming, plane bashing and the Greta Effect) will continue to increase among all social classes.
It is precisely the right moment for governments to promote ambitious policies to develop more environmentally friendly modes of transport, in particular those that favour rail transport.
The Covid-19 crisis may present an opportunity for the rail sector, given that countries and supra-state organizations will provide vast funding to restart the economy.
This could involve new investments for high-speed lines, which are highly successful in Western Europe, and in Asia (China, Japan, South Korea), and represent a key factor in economic development. There are still vast areas not accessible by high-speed rail around the Mediterranean Basin. These investments could be earmarked for new high-speed lines (above 250 km/h) or for upgrading existing lines for speeds above 200 km/h.