Lockdown measures in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a massive social experiment among the world’s workforce: the shift to working from home. Because of restrictions on most social and economic activities, congested city streets suddenly found themselves cleared of traffic. A number of public transport services also began operating at a reduced capacity.
For workers in developing countries who don’t have the privilege to work from home, however, the slowdown in urban transport systems only exposed the frailties of this critical component of infrastructure. With nearly empty streets today, the challenge for governments is to use this time as an opportunity to reimagine, reset and rebuild public transport systems into more sustainable, efficient and reliable networks 1) serving people’s needs 2) supporting economic development and 3) protecting the environment through reduced carbon emissions.