Crystal ball-gazing by the AA

By | Category: Travel news

The AA is one of the first organisations to forecast what future travel might be like when coronavirus is defeated.

Will roads get congested once the virus recedes? The AA thinks that they might not

Will life return to normal or will it be marginally or dramatically different? Will drivers clog up motorways and A roads as we head for traditional tourist spots? Will we still commute in overcrowded trains, buses and underground lines or will we prefer the safety of our own vehicles?

According to the AA, coronavirus will substantially alter the way we live, work and travel. It says that there will be a transformation in the way we live, work and travel in the UK.

It predicts a permanent reduction in the demand for travel because people have learned during the crisis to use home-working technology. But surely that depends on whether companies are willing to let us continue to work from home?

The AA says that governments may need to re-address their current thinking on road building and public transport. Some of that reconsideration might be down to how much money they will have available after the costs that they have already incurred in dealing with coronavirus.

It says that the government plans to spend £27bn to curb congestion on roads and £100bn on HS2 – but if demand falls, that may not be needed.

In an interview on BBC, Lord Adonis who was once Transport Secretary under Gordon Brown and was also David Cameron’s advisor on infrastructure said that it was too soon to forecast a permanent drop in traffic due to an increase in home working.

He also said that, generally, more people equals more travel.

The AA says that traveling up and down just to hold meetings is inefficient, expensive and not good for the environment.

That might be fine for businesses but what of visitors and tourists which are responsible for so many economic benefits in local economies? Rather than sitting in congested public transport might they opt for greater car usage believing that there is less chance of catching viruses in their own vehicles?

It will be interesting to see if the AA modifies its thinking as the virus lockdown – and people’s attitudes to it – develops.

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