Building back better and greener after COVID-19

Liz Benison, Managing Director of Mainland Europe at Arriva, says road space must be prioritised for walking, cycling and public transport

Net Hero Podcast

EU leaders met in Brussels over the weekend to discuss a new long-term budget up to 2027. This is a significant opportunity for EU leaders to shape the future course of Europe’s recovery from COVID-19. Collectively, European governments have it in their hands to use the recovery period to create a more sustainable Europe and build back better and greener. The EU and its Member States should continue to play a pioneering role in the world, reducing emissions and achieving the objectives set in the Green Deal to make the bloc climate neutral by 2050.

The global pandemic presents EU leaders and policymakers with an opportunity to support approaches that prioritise sustainable transport alternatives that not only help to de-carbonise transport, but also help to create more sustainable urban environments. This can be done by:

  • Prioritising road space for walking, cycling and public transport;
  • Providing targeted financial support to help transport operators and commissioning bodies to transition to zero-emission fleets; and
  • Facilitating the deployment of recharging and refuelling infrastructure for public transport vehicles.

The key will be to encourage modal shift to sustainable modes of transport such as buses and trains but also cycling and walking. By providing safe first and last mile journeys, developing integrated transport systems and allocating more space to public transport (for example by creating bus-only streets or Bus Rapid Transit Routes), the attractiveness and effectiveness of public transport can be increased.

Operators, transport authorities and governments should work in partnership, across all countries and modes, to turn the dial on modal shift, create truly sustainable transport networks and build a cleaner and greener future.