19 May 2020, 14:12
Benjamin Wehrmann

Public transport plunge due to coronavirus could inflate Germany's transport emissions – NGO

Clean Energy Wire

A drop in the use of public transport due to passengers’ coronavirus fears could increase Germany's transport-related carbon emissions by three million tonnes in 2020, NGO Greenpeace has said. It argued the pandemic will likely lead to a sustained reduction of public transport use, with people instead opting for private cars. "In order to avoid corona also infecting the transport transition, cities now have to provide more space for cyclists and pedestrians," said Greenpeace transport expert Marion Tiemann. She added that cities now have "an enormous opportunity" to advance the transition to more climate-friendly transport if they rigorously invest in infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians. Many cities around the world have already seized the opportunity to improve and reallocate traffic space, with Brussels declaring its entire city centre a pedestrian zone and both Madrid and Milan excluding cars from many streets. In Germany, only the capital Berlin has so far implemented changes that favour cyclists and pedestrians.  

Restrictions on travelling and social distancing guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have seen train and bus passenger numbers plummet in recent weeks, while the popularity of cars has risen sharply. However, updating and expanding public transport options and freeing up spaces in city centres that are currently occupied by cars are seen as possible measures for a long-term recovery from the corona crisis that couples economic benefits with green development. 

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