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Moving Forward Series #3: Sustainable Freight Transport in the Aftermath of the Pandemic

The LEDS GP Transport Working Group is publishing a series of five papers co-authored by young people from around the world on sustainable recovery for the transport sector: Leveraging insights from COVID-19 response measures to drive more sustainable, inclusive and resilient transport systems. Agnivesh Pani co-authored the third paper in the series which focuses on sustainable freight deliveries post-COVID-19.

An Essential Shift to Sustainable Freight Transport in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Autonomous Robots, Crowdshipping and Cargo Bikes

The COVID-19 crisis continues to disrupt manufacturing and global supply chains, with a noticeable shift in freight travel patterns and last mile deliveries. The paper “An Essential Shift to Sustainable Freight Transport in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Autonomous Robots, Crowdshipping and Cargo Bikes” presents new low-carbon initiatives that can make the landscape of post-COVID-19 freight deliveries sustainable. Several emerging examples include autonomous delivery robots in North America, crowdshipping services in Asia, and e-cargo bikes in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Agnivesh Pani is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Memphis, USA. A recent publication of his received the Best Paper Award of the TRB Freight Transportation Planning and Logistics (AT015) committee in 2020. He is part of the Young Leaders in Sustainable Transport programme 2020.

Paper Series “Moving Forward: Sustainable Recovery in Transport”

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a massive impact on mobility worldwide. With public transport authorities facing financial pressures and ridership dropping worldwide, equitable access through sustainable mobility is at risk. Guaranteeing access to economic, educational and societal opportunities through sustainable mobility options is at the center of equitable recovery. Protecting public transport, bike-sharing and other efficient and clean transport services will require concerted efforts from both the national and subnational levels. Economic stimulus packages by national governments and multilateral organizations offer an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate the transformation to sustainable, low carbon transport. Cities are deploying immediate measures, such as tactical urbanism, to facilitate social cohesion while enabling physical distancing and supporting the shift towards sustainable modes of transport. Such measures can drive permanent transformations to low carbon mobility in developing countries by harnessing innovative best practices into a “new normal” of mobility planning and investment.

This paper series aims to provide an understanding of economic, social and policy opportunities that can equip policy makers to create a transformative post-COVID-19 sustainable transport agenda and complement measures to make a case for sustainable transport and mobility in economic recovery packages. Sharing knowledge on positive measures and their potential to drive long-term change can support stakeholders in capitalizing on this critical moment. The series will cover five topics related to sustainable, low-carbon transport with the underlying theme of leading towards a more equitable and sustainable post-COVID-19 world. The papers focus on activities in Asia but are covering examples from around the world, making use of the most valuable insights and outcomes.

In the first paper of the series, Érika Martins Silva Ramos provides an understanding of how COVID-19 has impacted sustainable transport and explains how governments are supporting recovery in the sub-sectors that were most affected (e.g., public transport). The second paper, written by Angel Cortez, discusses the opportunity for a Green Recovery of the transport sector in the context of its impact on emissions worldwide.

As recovery continues, research, analysis, and capacity-building are vital to harness socio-economic and policy opportunities to sustainably transform transport systems and to ensure that responses to the crisis help us “build back better.”

The third paper was co-authored by Agnivesh Pani, and Chris Dekki, Angela Enriquez and Nikola Medimorec from the LEDS Transport Working Group.

Upcoming papers: Moving Forward #4 and #5

  • Job creation through green transport (Co-Author: Cyprine Odada)
  • Opening streets for people (Co-Author: Seble Samuel)

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