IISc Bengaluru Submitted report on handling transport woes shutdown

Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru, in the wake of COVID-19, has released two white papers focusing on the transport challenges that will be faced during the recovery period and post-pandemic situation.

The research stated that once the lockdown is over, the people will from all strata of life start commuting to their workplaces. If the transportation infrastructure doesn’t meet the travel demand during that period, it will create many woes. The research team is lead by Ashish Verma, an associate professor of transportation systems engineering at IISc, and it deals with the sustainable transportation system for the COVID-19 recovery period. The report has been submitted to the Karnataka state government on Friday.

The research also stated that for the transport agencies, the utmost important thing is to assure the commuters using public transit is safe during the post-pandemic period. They will also have to deal with the sudden rise in the travel demand as the population after isolation will attempt to disperse and move back to their work locations.

The prime objectives of the transit agency should be meeting the transit demand while maintaining a safe environment for the commuters. To ensure this, the agency might require additional resources or investment, which might be a burden to already constrained departments.

Regaining public trust will be the most essential for transit agencies. The report provides solutions like public awareness campaigns, tracking employees, public surveillance, carrying out extensive disinfection programs of the transit units, and ensuring social distancing policies.

The key focus area of the authorities’ posts the pandemic should be intercity and interstate travel. The government needs to start identifying different sections of people that may opt for such travel and start quantifying the respective travel demand.

The IISc report also suggested that the transit agencies run services at half the capacity to ensure social distancing. Information needs to be collected by the Centre for all those who will want to travel back to their workplace. With this data, the entrusted authority can plan interstate travel by controlling demand and scheduling the trains.

The report also proposed that the government should give appropriate subsidies or relief to the operators, primarily the private airlines and bus operators, as they will incur losses.