Transportation policies in the age of COVID - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Transportation policies in the age of COVID

Audrey Wennink

A multimodal transportation system provides increased resilience

Coronavirus struck suddenly, transforming our world – and majorly affecting our transportation environment. During the stay-at-home order, essential workers still need to safety get to work while the rest of us who can work from home are not traveling at all. What does this mean for our transportation system? 

We need to both ensure the safest system possible for essential workers during the peak of the crisis and also build back a system that will provide needed mobility for the long-term future of our region. From ensuring transit keeps running as safely as possible to building bike lanes for the post-COVID era, here are some transportation-focused policies we support right now:

  • Direct significant COVID-19 rescue funding to transit to ensure mobility of essential workers and to ensure our transit systems survive in a post-COVID era. A first wave of federal funding occurred under the CARES Act, but more support for transit will be needed long-term. 
  • Implement strategies to improve the safety of transit operators, such as distributing protective personal equipment and implementing rear-door boarding, which went into effect April 9.
  • Adjust transit operations to respond to social distancing needs, such as increasing frequencies of buses on any corridors experiencing rider crowding.
  • Share real-time data on transit crowding and cleaning practices publicly so riders can confidently make informed choices about which mobility choices are best for them.
  • Improve the protected bike lane network to increase resiliency and capacity of the transportation system in an era of reduced transit capacity.
  • Prioritize implementation of Vision Zero traffic pedestrian-oriented safety improvements so the walking environment is safer as more people are walking for transportation.

 Below are links to letters MPC signed that address some of these policies:

More posts by Audrey

  1. The Chicago region must drastically accelerate climate action

    • By Audrey Wennink and Edith Makra, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and Ned Gardiner, PhD, NOAA
    • Jul 27, 2021
  2. The Power of Cycling to Build Community Cohesion and Healthier Cities

    • By Audrey Wennink and Samantha Lenoch, Research Assistant
    • Jun 29, 2021
  3. Performance based transportation planning is on the way

    • By Audrey Wennink and Civic Committee, IEC, Transportation Equity Network, ILEPI
    • Jun 7, 2021

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