Insights & expertise

Life after lockdown: Transport

Getting the world moving, one journey at a time

How did you get to your office today? Most likely, you got out of bed, walked to another room and turned on your computer.

While people’s commuting habits have changed massively and quickly, what will transportation look like in the future? And what steps will we take in order to get there?

Air travel

The future of travel is ‘up in the air’, despite the fact that air fleets have been very much on the ground for a large chunk of the year. Already under fire for their emissions levels, the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up a whole new set of challenges for the sector. Our researchers work closely with a number of industry leaders on manufacturing and fuel efficiency, but also have a huge range of expertise on future-planning for the sector as a whole.

Cars and personal vehicles

Mixed messaging around moving around in the current climate has thrown more light on the importance of addressing personal transportation. Cycling and micro-mobility (such as electric scooters, which currently have limited legal coverage in the UK) has grown in interest over the past few months, but supply chains are running thin.

Instead of using public transport, commuters have been encouraged to use personal vehicles, which has a huge knock-on effect on carbon emissions, especially in urban areas, with further challenges such as increased potential for traffic accidents and limited town centre parking.

Could this be the shot in the arm for investment and public buy-in for automated transportation? And how will public transport networks respond to a huge reduction in revenue as we change our work and travel habits? Experts from our specialist consultants at the Transport Strategy Centre and our Centre for Transport Studies have provided expert insight and research for projects around the world.

Check out some of our startups addressing the needs in e-mobility:


Freight, haulage, shipping and distribution

Resource availability has been stretched as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with international travel under huge scrutiny. Keeping our globalised world connected through shipping and freight has been vital to ensuring medical supplies and essential products get to their destinations.

But with less manufacturing and shut-downs to entire sectors, supply chains will take some time to reignite, and what will the demand be for items that people lived without for so long? And how can we reduce the impact on the environment from a restoration of these high-intensity routes? Low-carbon travel across populations as well as within business needs and cargo distribution will also play a huge role on meeting climate emissions targets.

Urban planning and development

Our towns, cities and the places we visit will increasingly be designed by data, and by how residents (or ‘users’) experience the world around them. Air quality improvements could be fast-tracked, and with fewer polluting vehicles on the road, there’s an opportunity to put all of the ethical ideas of environmental sustainability into action, protecting the health and the natural environment. How could future technologies and social interventions change urban air for city dwellers?

Check out a special focus page on how energy and environmental policy can be leveraged to support a move to greener transport and help customers reduce their carbon footprints.

The fight to improve air quality

Air pollution has become central to scientific and policy concerns, as 91% of the world’s population now live in places where air quality exceeds World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, with around seven million people dying from the effects of air pollution annually. Imperial is to become the world’s leading centre for the study of air pollution.

How the global transport sector is responding to COVID-19

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, transport providers have to change how they manage their organisations and serve their customers. The Transport Strategy Centre at Imperial have summarised these practices and approaches to help others optimise their responses.

Perfecting global transport performance

Benchmarking analysis and the identification of global best practices in the rail, metro and light rail, bus and air transport sectors to help the leaders of these companies improve the performance of their systems and, ultimately, the services they provide to their customers.

Find out how Imperial can help you with your specific needs be they immediate or a longer term goal.

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