Smart Transport

City transport providers offered coronavirus response toolkit

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), which is made up of 83 US city transit agencies, has put together a coronavirus toolkit to collaborate on transport resilience and response plans.

The COVID-19 Transportation Response Centre is an online hub for city transportation staff, officials, and leaders to learn from one another and develop the most effective responses to the evolving global crisis.

This resource is being updated daily as the landscape changes, and in response to city feedback.

NACTO has been highlighting noteworthy examples from cities, and new resources from the Response Center through a weekly newsletter.

While these examples are from US cities, some of the responses will be relevant for any city in the world and some similar measures have been introduced in London, where only the middle doors are used by buses to help distance passengers from drivers.

Some of the latest highlights from NACTO across the US show:

  • Instituting rear-door boarding and/or fare free transit

Many transit agencies suspended fares and/or required rear-door boarding to minimise interactions and help protect passengers and operators.

  • Establishing and clearly marking passenger spacing requirements

Houston METRO restricted seating on board buses to every other row and installed clear signage in English and Spanish communicating this change to passengers.

  • Extending the footpath in high-traffic areas

Brookline, Massachusetts is reconfiguring vehicle and parking lanes along highly-used streets in order to create more space for people to access essential services.

  • Opening select streets for social distancing

74 miles of Oakland's streets—10% of all of the streets in the city—will be converted to local access only in order to relieve crowded footpaths and parks so people can both safely make essential trips and get some fresh air. These  streets will reach across virtually every neighborhood in the city.

Denver closed select roads to through-traffic to create more space for residents to travel while social distancing, to both help residents make essential trips more safely, as well as expand outdooor recreational space. The city initially closed streets in areas with high population densities or busy public parks; the program is now expanding.

  • Opening streets through and alongside parks

Minneapolis closed sections of riverfront parkways to motor vehicle traffic to allow more space for trail users, and will be expanding to additional parkway closures.

Vancouver restricted traffic on streets leading to and within Stanley Park, repurposing motor vehicles lanes to create larger spaces for people to safely go outside.

  • Automating pedestrian crossing buttons

Cities across the world are converting pedestrian signals to automatic, eliminating the need for people to press a button in order to cross the street. This cuts down on a common public touch-point, reducing the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Watch our webinar. Covid-19: Transport responses outside cities

A Smart Transport webinar with the University of Hertfordshire

> Watch a recording of the webinar

Webinar content

While travel of all kinds has massively reduced during the Covid-19 lockdown, some travel for key workers and for freight is essential. 

How is this being provided, especially outside major cities? 

And what are the opportunities this might present for the future? 

This webinar will feature two experimental responses in different rural areas in the UK, and reflections from a tech company on the role microtransit, allied with data analysis, can play in meeting lockdown travel needs. 

It brings together Bauer's Smart Transport programme with the University of Hertfordshire's Smart Mobility Unit, which is researching and testing policy initiatives for transport outside cities. 


- Beate Kubitz, innovative transport consultant: An e-cargo bike service for a Pennine village

- Austin Blackburn, Go Coach: Demand responsive buses for Kent during the lockdown

- Darian Helm/ Jerome Mayaud, SpareLabs: Microtransit as a response to lockdown transport needs

- Richard Dilks, CoMoUK: Reflections on mobility and transport outside cities during Covid-19, and implications for what follows.

Webinar chair

Stephen Joseph
Chair of Smart Transport and visiting professor, University of Hertfordshire. 

Watch our webinar

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