If there was a winner in 2020, it was the environment. Greenhouse gas emissions plummeted by more than 2 billion tons in 2020. That’s an incredible 7 percent reduction from 2019, the largest reduction ever.
The drops in emissions happened because we altered our daily lives. Lockdowns initially dominated the United States. People worked from home, eliminating commutes. Other travel was also severely restricted.
While commuting, travel, and daily movement have increased since March and April 2020, major shifts in behavior have also occurred.
So what is next for our culture that loved the solo-rider commute from the suburbs and mass transit in urban centers? Will our commuting behavior change? Are we ready to fully adopt newer types of commuting like micromobility?
Where our transportation stands today
The status of commuting shows it’s not as popular as it was a year ago.
While this is not a full accounting, we know car travel and overall commuting are well off any peaks. Consulting company KPMG says that in 2020, we traveled about 5 percent less on a per capita basis from the all-time high. And in the future, the firm believes we will only travel at about 90 percent of the vehicle miles we did before 2020.
Collectively, commuting is in a similar position. In New York City, for example, subway ridership is currently only 30 percent of normal levels. And it’s not much higher elsewhere. National numbers show transit ridership dropped 62 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2019, according to the American Public Transportation Association. Heavy rail dropped 72 percent in the same quarter.
The rise of micromobility
The drop in commuting numbers shows that when people travel, they prefer to do so independently. That could be the case until Covid-19 vaccines are widely distributed and the public “trusts” commuting again.
While micromobility may not replace mass transit, it may have increased its usage for good during the pandemic. Scooters, e-bikes, and bicycles found a boost in popularity. Short-term bike rentals and scooter rentals have increased in some cities in 2020. It’s also possible that as rentals increased, so did the number of purchases of bikes and scooters. Bikes were hard to find in some cities.
There are many reasons micromobility usage has grown outside of the fact you don’t have to ride with other people. Micromobility vehicles often take less time to get to destinations in urban areas. They give riders more freedom than rigid transit routes and reduce the number of cars on the road.
Are you ready for the future? Micromobility may be it, and it’s possible to save money on doing it whether you are a commuter or a business owner. At Edenred Benefits, we offer eight different commuting solutions for businesses.