Remote working to play a significant role in the post-pandemic world, suggests Kantar Study 2021

Kantar Study 2021

With the Kantar Mobility Future’s Study conducted across 13 global cities, the report aims to highlight the major global mobility trends for the upcoming decade.

Kantar has released its Mobility Future’s study on Sustainable Mobility, based on an analysis conducted across almost 10,000 city dwellers from 13 global cities about their current travel experiences and desired modes of transport. This intends to bring to light the major global mobility trends for the upcoming decade.

The report highlights how more than half of the commuters around the world plan to continue working remotely, at least in part, after the pandemic. This, together with a growing preference for healthier modes of transport, but also a resurgence in commuting by car, means the next year will be pivotal in shaping the transport infrastructure and the future of mobility.

The key highlights for global mobility trends for the upcoming decade from Kantar Study include:

  • The pandemic resulted in a 30% drop in travel volume to work, places of education and leisure activities.
  • 50% of commuters anticipate continuing to at least in part work remotely post-pandemic
  • Public transport has experienced a 5.6% loss of share as hygiene concerns became a factor
  • Car usage has experienced a 3.8% increase in the share of journeys during the pandemic and looks set to stick as the preference for post-pandemic travel.
  • A 5% shift in the share of journeys across Western Europe to healthy modes of transport, walking, cycling and scooting, during the pandemic, with an increase in those saying it will be their preferred mode of transport.

Kantar predicts that remote working will play a significant role in the ‘New Normal’ after pandemic restrictions are lifted. Currently, around 2 in 3 residents of major urban areas are working from home globally and the study shows that on average half of them plan to keep working remotely in the future. 

Healthier modes of transport have seen a noticeable increase in this period especially in Europe. With limited transport sharing options, Europeans have favoured walks and bike rides for their daily journeys.  Kantar has observed a 4.8% rise in the use of healthy modes of transport in Europe, with walking being the most preferred of these means and scoring a 78 out of 100 on the satisfaction chart. US cities however have seen only a slight increase in use of healthy transport means (0.6% YoY), mainly due to large distances and car-centric infrastructures.

The pandemic has created an increased focus on localism and shorter trips. This trend could positively impact the ’15-minute city’ concept moving away from being car-centric and offering all the amenities for people’s essential and daily needs within a 15-minute walk or bike ride.

Kantar data supports this by revealing that walking and biking are currently the highest-scoring means of transport in terms of satisfaction.

Despite the health-kick, there has also been an increase in car usage. Social distancing measures and health concerns led to more people choosing to drive alone during the pandemic to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Driving remains one of the preferred ways to travel, despite the negative environmental impact of petrol-powered cars, with usage growing +3.6% YoY and preference +1.9% YoY – making driving the second most popular mode of transport after walking. 

In contrast, public transport has taken a serious hit during the pandemic, dropping by 5.6% YoY in usage and scoring only 37 out of 100 for satisfaction, as a result of restrictions on its use, social distancing and people choosing individual means of transport (i.e. walking or biking). The challenge for cities will be how to entice members of the public back onto these services in order to, reduce traffic congestion and limit environmental damage in cities.

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Anang Jena, Executive Vice President, and Practice Lead – Automotive and Mobility, South Asia, Kantar, said, “The pandemic in India has fundamentally changed the way people process and consume mobility, especially with more serious manifestation in the current wave. There will be an inherent psychological restriction towards public transportation which is likely to be fairly long-term, especially amongst those who had opted for public transportation even if they could afford personal mobility solutions such as personal vehicles. A large part of India’s migrant population will continue to rely on public mobility solutions with a lot of caution and sensitivity. Public mobility suppliers need to gear up to address these sensitivities going forward. The last mile connectivity will continue to thrive as social distancing practice can be applied effectively – this could create a clear and significant opportunity for e-mobility.

The propensity towards personal mobility is likely to increase further, we are likely to see and witness acceleration of purchase process for those who were at initial stages of vehicle acquisition. This is currently hampered due to lockdown and restrictions, however, openness to own a vehicle sooner than later would need auto makers to devise new ways for customers to experience and acquire vehicles. There is always a boom after a lull. Automotive industry will positively experience that; however, the precise time and period of this occurrence would only be best guess scenario.”

Guillaume Saint, Global Automotive & Mobility Practice Lead, said, “The global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people move in cities. With more people working from home, we’ve seen a significant drop in public transport in favour of driving alone. While this is a temporarily safer measure, it does pose sustainability and congestion challenges in the future if cities don’t focus on environmentally friendly and efficient city infrastructures. However, we’ve seen an increased shift to localism with an increase in people enjoying healthier modes of transport like biking, walking or e-scooters as well. With this wide-ranging shift in plans and attitudes, now is the time for cities to reconsider their infrastructure plans and adapt it in order to encourage more sustainable mobility in the post-pandemic future.”



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