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June Newsletter — Corona Recovery

Published 16 June 2020 by Transform Scotland

The Corona Crisis is severely impacting Scottish society and, as we are beginning to see, it will have long-lasting effects. We have been discussing with our members what that future might look like for transport and how we can ensure that the Corona Recovery leads us to a fairer, greener and more robust transport system.

Throughout June, we are publishing a ‘Corona Recovery’ series of reports that focus in on central challenges that the transport sector is facing and accompanied these with a series of videocalls. The first two reports have been published over the last two weeks and address ‘Just Recovery: reversing the lockdown inequalities‘ and ‘Active Recovery: Locking-in the active travel benefits’.

Just Recovery: reversing the lockdown inequalities:

The report sets out a series of recommendations for the Scottish Government in designing its transport response to coronavirus so that the negative impacts of the lockdown are not “prolonged indefinitely” for the Scottish households whose mobility has been most severely curtailed during the lockdown.

In a foreword to the report, Peter Kelly, the Director of The Poverty Alliance, writes:

“This report shows how this inequality affects the transport systems we all rely on. It highlights that those who were reliant on public transport have been further disadvantaged by the measures brought in as a result of the lockdown. The changes that have been made to transport, and the likely continuing restrictions, will have an impact on our health, our environment and our incomes, with the biggest impacts on those with the lowest incomes. 

“As we begin to move out of lockdown it is time to redesign our transport systems – and our wider public services – in ways that lock in social justice and reduce inequalities. Implementing the proposals in this report will go some way to helping to do this, and to supporting a just and green recovery that ensures we build back better than before.”

Active Recovery: Locking-in the active travel benefits:

The report sets out recommendations for locking-in the active travel benefits of the lockdown. One of the biggest revelations during lockdown has been just how much space is given to vehicles in towns and cities. With streets usually dominated by vehicles lying empty, the imbalance of streetspace allocation has been laid bare.

Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland, said:

“Lockdown has shown that when there is an urgent need to prioritise travel by foot and bike, action can be taken quickly to make these changes. But we need to see more action by all Scottish local authorities as progress has been too slow in many parts of the country. Local authorities also need to show themselves willing to tackle more difficult schemes even if this leads to less space for cars. Today’s poll results show that there is certainly an appetite for this in Glasgow.”

What’s next:

This week we will publish a report and host a videocall on ‘Connected Recovery: Enabling the digital commute’. The following week we will focus on ‘Transport Recovery: Rebuilding public transport’.

The events are open to Transform supporters and members. If you would like to attend please email Matt at <matt.mcdonald@transformscotland.org.uk>.